Nova Scotia pledges food donation tax credit in budget

A tax credit for Nova Scotia farmers who donate produce to local food banks is among the policy plans laid out in the province’s latest budget.

Finance Minister Randy Delorey’s budget on Tuesday showed an overall $17.1 million net surplus position on $10.15 billion in total expenses and $10.26 billion in total revenues (minus $110.3 million in federal and municipal contributions earmarked for the Halifax Convention Centre project, deemed “not part of normal revenues”).

Apart from the new food bank tax credit, meant to encourage produce donations from farmers, the budget also calls for $3.5 million in new research, product development and market development funding for the province’s wine and vineyard sector.

That funding, Delorey said in his speech, “will pay for more research and development, and it will help our wine producers find new business in new markets… (and) means new products, new businesses and more opportunity in Nova Scotia.”

The wine sector funding follows a joint pledge in late March from the provincial and federal governments, worth $487,960 over two years, to set up a new wine analysis lab at Wolfville-based Acadia University.

The lab is expected to help meet the beverage sector’s “increasing demand” for chemical and sensory analysis services in Atlantic Canada. Wineries in the region today have to seek out such services at labs based in Ontario, Quebec or California.

For rural Nova Scotia, Tuesday’s budget also pledges another $6 million to back high-speed internet service for more homes and businesses.

Lack of available high-speed “is holding too many Nova Scotians back,” Delorey said, and also “hurts small businesses and places an unnecessary burden on potential entrepreneurs.”

Improving high-speed availability “won’t just benefit business (but) will create more connected citizens and consumers,” he said, committing the government to “work with our partners to develop a solution.”

The budget documents released Tuesday also commit the province’s Crop and Livestock Insurance Commission to develop new insurance programs in sectors such as grapes — and to introduce a “new, non-yield-based acreage loss program for vegetables” as an option to conventional “yield-based” insurance plans. — AGCanada.com Network

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