P.E.I. government boosts health spending in second consecutive balanced budget

P.E.I. government boosts health spending in second consecutive balanced budget

CHARLOTTETOWN — Amid speculation about a snap election, the Prince Edward Island government has tabled its second consecutive balanced budget.

Finance Minister Heath MacDonald is projecting a $1.5 million surplus for the 2018-19 fiscal year, saying the province’s economy is booming.

The centrepiece of the fiscal plan is a big increase in spending for health care.

The Health Department’s budget is expected to rise by $32.5 million, an increase of 4.8 per cent.

Part of that increase will be used to pay for 100 new long-term care beds over the next two years.

The feel-good budget also includes a tax cut that is expected to save small businesses up to $2,500 a year, the creation of up to 400 new child-care spaces and new front-line positions to support students in the classroom.

The next general election is set for October 2019 under provincial legislation, but there has been speculation Premier Wade MacLauchlan could call for a vote as early as next month or in June.

The Canadian Press

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