04/26/2017 11:29 EDT | Updated 04/26/2017 12:30 EDT

Nova Scotia budget expected to lay groundwork for snap election call

HALIFAX — Nova Scotia's Liberal government is expected to present a balanced budget Thursday that many believe will lay the groundwork for an election call that could come as early as this weekend.

A government source familiar with the fiscal document says it will contain $2.4 million in annual funding for two medical programs that would result in an additional 50 doctors a year for the provincial health system.

The funding would create 10 new seats in the family residency program at Dalhousie University and open 10 new spaces in the ready assessment program, which assists international doctors in establishing practices in Nova Scotia.

Last month, Finance Minister Randy Delorey committed to a balanced budget for 2017-18, on the heels of a forecasted surplus of $12.1 million for 2016-17.

Delorey also revealed the budget would see a rise in the threshold for the small business income tax rate to $500,000 from $350,000.

The move would shift more than 1,000 companies into a lower income tax bracket, paying rates of three per cent rather than 16 per cent on their income.