Halifax Council’s intention to limit this year’s property tax increase to 1.9% will lead to a sizeable reduction in staff, Halifax head librarian and CEO Åsa Kachan told the Council’s budget committee on Friday. That inevitably means programs and services will be impacted, she said. Councillors will make a decision later this month. Maybe it’s time to give your councillor a call.

Danny Cavanagh tackles the myth that tax cuts for big corporations somehow benefit society. “Enough of the one-liners and quotations, and people buying into the agenda that taxes are too high. The fact is, the big business elite isn’t taxed enough. It’s time they ante up, stop tax avoidance in tax havens, and start to pay their fair share, both personally and for their big businesses.  Just like the rest of us.”

Educator Molly Hurd tackles the current threats to art education in Nova Scotia. “By reducing arts education, we are once again widening the gap between those who already have and those who have not. Rich parents will always be able to provide private lessons and classes for their children. Schools in wealthy neighbourhoods will always be able to fund-raise for extra artistic opportunities.  Public education, to be truly equitable, needs to provide good arts education for all.”

Media release: The Nova Scotia College of Social Workers (NSCSW) is urging the N.S. government to invest in supports to strengthen family life for vulnerable children and youth in their submission to Budget Talks 2018. “The Nova Scotia Government has a responsibility to our children and youth and must ensure the atrocities of Canada’s colonial and racist past are not repeated. They need to invest wisely to keep vulnerable children and youth in their homes and communities.”

Neoliberalism is a word you may well have heard at a rally or read in a newspaper, but what does it mean? Frequent contributor Alex Kronstein on all you ever wanted to know about neoliberalism but were afraid to ask. Turns out you knew its meaning all along.

Richard Starr takes a closer look at the updated provincial budget released last week. “As long as a balanced budget remains the political holy grail and the economy produces little revenue growth there will be intense pressure on public spending. Unless the Liberals can pull more accounting tricks out of a hat – or there is an unexpected windfall from the federal government – we are in for a very rough ride over the next four years,” Starr writes.

Good letter by Danny Cavanagh, president of the Nova Scotia Federation of Labour, on the Chamber of Commerce complaining about civil servants’ wages. “What is the Chamber’s position on secret government handouts to hand picked universities? What is the Chamber’s position on the fact the majority of Nova Scotia children live in poverty? The Chamber of Commerce supported tax cuts for business, when big businesses have been sitting on hordes of cash. Tax cuts were a promise as the solution to create jobs. These jobs never came.”

In this final part of our series on on the social determinants of health Alex Kronstein argues that a strong social safety net promotes health, but Canada, like so many other countries, has fallen victim to a neoliberal approach that’s all about “the financialization of everything.” Nonetheless, various Nova Scotia organizations continue to address the social determinants of health.