The province released its annual financial statements, today, Sept. 10, showing a lower surplus than expected for the 2009 fiscal year. The public accounts for the fiscal year ending March 31 reports a surplus of $19.7 million. Total revenues from all sources were $9.19 billion, $64.6 million lower than the previous year, mainly because of a decrease in revenue from taxes and a decline in federal contributions. Total expenses from all sources were $9.17 billion, $334.7 million more than the previous year because of higher costs in health care, education and universities. Financial results of the consolidated fund, which includes government departments and public-service units, showed an overall decrease in revenue of $44.4 million compared with the year before, but was $27.1 million higher than budget. Consolidated fund expenses were $388.1 higher, and $188.1 million more than budget. This is because of a $256 million additional appropriation for university funding in 2009. Nova Scotia’s net direct debt, the difference between the province’s liabilities and financial assets, was $12.3 billion, $208.7 million higher than the previous year. The increase is mainly attributed to a large net investment in tangible capital assets. Provincial debt as a percentage of Gross Domestic Product has decreased one percentage point, from 37 per cent to 36 per cent. The consolidated fund spent $364.7 million on tangible capital assets, or $23.2 million more than budgeted, primarily as a result of new highway construction. Nova Scotia’s economy experienced an estimated two per cent growth in real Gross Domestic Product (GDP) in the fiscal year, up from a 1.7 per cent growth rate in 2007-08. The increased growth rate was mostly driven by consumer and government spending in the first half of the fiscal year. The number of people active in the labour market increased by 0.9 per cent, while overall employment increased by 1.3 per cent. This resulted in a 0.3 per cent decrease in the overall employment rate to 7.7 per cent. The March 31 financial statements are in accordance with generally accepted accounting principles. Nova Scotia’s auditor general has provided an unqualified auditor’s report that is included in Public Accounts Volume 1. The Public Accounts documents are available online at www.gov.ns.ca/finance.