Action needs to be taken on Nova Scotia deficit

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By The Canadian Press

Nova Scotia's opposition parties say the government needs a plan to rein in the province's $481.7-million deficit.

Finance Minister Diana Whalen released the new figure Thursday, saying finances had plunged from an $18.3-million surplus projected in August, due to a decrease in revenues and the addition of a 280-million dollar civil service pension liability payment.

Progressive Conservative finance critic Tim Houston says everything should now be on the table in order to balance the books.

Houston says the Liberals should go through every budget line in order to find efficiencies and the government also needs to look at measures aimed at improving the business climate to grow the economy.

Whalen won't speculate on whether program cuts are in the offing, but says the government will stick to its pledge to reduce departmental spending by one per cent with the exception of health and education.

Acting NDP Leader Maureen MacDonald says she doesn't know how significant savings will be achieved without looking at health and education, which are the province's largest budget expenditures.

Geographic location: Nova Scotia

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