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New Brunswick budget hikes income, tobacco taxes to fight $479 million deficit

New Brunswick Finance Minister Blaine Higgs (left) and Transportation Minister Claude Williams attend a prebudget news conference March 22.

David Smith-MDS Photography/THE CANADIAN PRESS

The New Brunswick government has delivered a budget that hikes tobacco taxes and eliminates previous income tax cuts as it tries to wrestle with a deficit projected to grow to $479 million.

The $8.5-billion budget presented today will see personal income taxes rise to 2006 levels — a measure expected to generate $136 million in revenue for 2013-14.

The corporate income tax rate will be increased to 12 per cent from 10 per cent on July 1, resulting in an estimated boost of $17 million in additional annual revenue.

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Smokers will also pay higher taxes on tobacco as of midnight Tuesday — up two cents per cigarette.

Finance Minister Blaine Higgs says the government will continue efforts to reduce the size of the public service through attrition and attempt to cut their use of sick leave by 20 per cent.

Higgs says the government can return to balanced budgets by 2015-16 if there is improved economic growth and revenues.

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