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April 6, 2011
For immediate release
Budget 2011 supports health, education and a return to balance
Finance and Energy
The new provincial budget will continue the progress being made by Islanders to build a stronger society and a more competitive economy, says Finance and Municipal Affairs Minister Wes Sheridan.
“Budget 2011 is an appropriate budget for the times,” said the Minister. “Its primary focus is to keep expenditure increases lower than revenue increases so we can return to fiscal balance by our target date of 2013-2014. At the same time, it contains modest increases to support the major gains being made to strengthen and sustain our health and education systems.”
The provincial deficit was reduced by approximately $20 million from the 2009-2010 deficit to a forecast deficit of $53.7 million, slightly below the budget of $54.9 million. It will be further reduced to $42 million in 2011-2012.
Minister Sheridan said the new budget builds on the momentum of previous budgets that have resulted in several major accomplishments.
It will continue the work that is well underway to provide all Island children with the same access to high quality early learning and child care. Funding for the Preschool Excellence Initiative will increase by $2.7 million this year to $11.3 million, a further increase of 31 per cent.
Funding for the new school-based kindergarten program increased from $3.6 million in 2008 to $11 million this coming year.
Operating grants to post-secondary institutions will increase by three per cent. Holland College will receive $1.1 million to assist with operating and financing costs for the new West Prince Regional Learning Centre in Alberton.
Over the past four years, the number of physicians practising in the province increased from 196 to 218. In addition, further funding of $1.2 million will be added this year to support enhanced physician services for orthopaedics and palliative care.
Primary health care networks are being established to ensure that all Islanders are within 30 kilometres of a primary health care site and have access to a family physician. Primary care funding will increase by $1.5 million this year and will include a new health centre in Cornwall and a satellite health centre in Murray River.
Ambulance services in Kings County and West Prince will be enhanced with new funding of $300,000.
In the coming year, $1.3 million will be provided to add 41 permanent beds to the long-term care system. A new 34-unit seniors housing facility will be built in Summerside at a cost of $4 million.
Funding to community-based organizations that support vulnerable Islanders will receive additional funding of $100,000.
New funding of $342,000 will be provided to enhance public transit. Municipal grant funding will increase by one per cent.
Government plans to achieve $5 million in internal savings through new economy measures such as reduced telecommunications costs and by centralizing some government services.
New revenue of $9.8 million is expected through increases in tobacco and liquor prices.
To access the provincial budget documents visit www.gov.pe.ca/budget