POLITICS
04/18/2012 02:47 EDT | Updated 06/18/2012 05:12 EDT

P.E.I. budget highlights include move to HST, lower deficit but higher debt

CHARLOTTETOWN - Highlights of the Prince Edward Island budget presented Wednesday:

— The province has begun negotiations with Ottawa to implement a 14 per cent harmonized sales tax as of April 1, 2013.

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— Deficit projected to be $74.9 million, down from $78.6 million in the fiscal year that ended in March.

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— Net debt to reach $1.97 billion by March 2013 — an increase of over $114 million — or about $14,066 for every man, woman and child in the province.

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— The public sector will be reduced by 300 positions over the next three years, with two-thirds of those cuts coming this fiscal year.

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— Various licenses, fees, permits and services will be increased, generating an extra $7.2 million.

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— New $500 refundable income tax credit for volunteer firefighters with at least 200 hours of volunteer service a year.