POLITICS

Nova Scotia businesses that spend more than $15M would be eligible for credit

10/22/2014 03:28 EDT | Updated 12/22/2014 05:59 EST
HALIFAX - Businesses in Nova Scotia that spend more than $15 million in capital projects would be eligible for a tax credit in January to offset 15 per cent of their costs under legislation introduced Wednesday.

Economic Development Minister Michel Samson says the credit is aimed at attracting and retaining large manufacturers and processors and will be given to companies after they make the investments.

The provincial government estimates the cost of offering the tax credit will be about $30 million annually, depending on uptake.

An existing program that allows companies that spend p to $15 million in capital projects to claim a rebate would also have its cap raised from $1 million to $3 million.

Tax credits that are set to expire for the digital media industry this year and the film industry next year would be extended to 2020.

Samson also introduced legislative amendments that would require the province's economic development agencies to produce five-year strategic plans, with the first one due March 1.

Samson said the changes would also increase the maximum amount of money that Nova Scotia Business Inc. can authorize without cabinet approval. That amount now sits at $3 million.

The legislation doesn't specify how much that cap would be raised by, but Peter MacAskill, the vice-president of Nova Scotia Business Inc., said he believes it will likely be between $5 million and $10 million.

He said the changes would shorten the approval process, making the province more attractive to business.

"We're hopeful it will knock off anywhere from six weeks to three months depending on the transaction," said MacAskill.