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Highlights of Nova Scotia budget: $17 million surplus on $10 billion spending

HALIFAX – Highlights of the Nova Scotia budget introduced Tuesday:

— Surplus of $17.1 million is projected on a spending program of about $10 billion.

— Net debt of $15.2 billion in 2016-17.

— Budget provides $6.6 million for childcare with money to increase the parent subsidy and to increase wages for early childhood educators.

— Education will get $21 million, with $6.4 million going toward class cap sizes extended up to Grade 6 and $7.5 million to help improve literacy and math skills.

— There will be $7.5 million for boosting income assistance by $20 a month for people eligible.

— Tobacco tax increased by two cents a cigarette or 50 cents a pack, $4 dollars per carton.

— Government will introduce a new 25 per cent refundable food bank tax credit for farmers at a cost of $300,000.

— $3.6 million for the Early Intensive Behavioural Intervention Program to ensure children with autism access a specialized therapy.