No cutting but higher user fees

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HALIFAX, N.S. — Finance Minister Neil Leblanc made no apologies when he released a budget rife with fees increases totaling $101.9 million a year, with overall spending going up 0.8 per cent.

“To balance the budget, just to do it on the expenditure side is not reasonable. We have looked on the revenue side, we have looked at user fees and cost recoveries. We think that’s a prudent, a fair, and a reasonable way to approach this,” he says.

Liberal finance critic Don Downe accused Premier John Hamm of going back on an election promise not to increase taxes.

“Nova Scotians heard them say no new taxes. What have we got, new taxes,” he says.

The trucking community will feel the pinch starting today when a cost recovery fee for performing verification audits of carrier inspection, maintenance and logbook records is enacted. The audit fee being introduced is a whopping $60/hour.

On May 1, a cost recovery annual registration fee for regulation of commercial carriers ($50 a carrier) will hit the highways. Also on this date driver’s licence fees will increase from $40 to $60 and an jump in commercial vehicle registration fees will see the cost of heavy commercial vehicle registrations go up 40 per cent.

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