Highlights of Newfoundland and Labrador budget for 2014-15 delivered Thursday

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ST. JOHN’S, N.L. – Highlights of the Newfoundland and Labrador budget presented Thursday:

— A $7.8-billion spending plan that sprinkles new spending across education, social and health services.

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— A deficit of $538 million with an increase in net debt of $808 million to total $9.8 billion.

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— An investment of $35.4 million toward establishing full-day kindergarten by September 2016 and for early learning.

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— As of Friday, the tax per cigarette will increase by three cents and the tax per gram on fine-cut tobacco will go up by six cents. The province will spend $712,000 to subsidize products to help low-income people quit.

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— A commitment of $14.7 million over two years to convert more provincial student loans to grants based on need.

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— Poverty reduction strategy to receive $170 million, bringing related investment to more than $1 billion since 2006.

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