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.