Many provincial fees are going up in Nova Scotia to reflectchanges in operating and service delivery costs. Most changestake effect on Thursday, April 1; a few changes will come intoeffect on May 1. In all, there will be about 500 fee changes, adding more than $12million to provincial revenues. “We’re increasing fees because it’s costing us more to deliverservices,” said Minister of Finance Peter Christie. “Increasingfees reduces the pressure to reduce services.” Most increases will be limited to 6.5 per cent, reflectingchanges in the cost of delivering services since the lastadjustments in 2002. “A few fees are increasing more than 6.5 per cent to moreaccurately reflect the true cost of the service,” said Mr.Christie. Overall program expenses rose 7.4 per cent between 2001 and 2003.During those two years, health expenditures alone are up morethan 14 per cent. “After delivering balanced budgets in 2002 and 2003, and thenlowering taxes this year, Ottawa cut our transfer payments by$180 million,” said Mr. Christie. “It’s impossible to take thatbig a hit without adjusting our fees and services. “We had hoped to see more health-care money in the federalbudget, but it was not there,” added Mr. Christie. “Clearly,Ottawa has a different priority list than most Nova Scotians.” Some extraordinary pressures strained the province’s financesduring the past year. These include the spring floods, HurricaneJuan and the winter blizzards. Out-of-province calamities such asthe BSE crisis affected the province, too. Some increases will be delayed until May 1 because ofdepartmental notification policies. For example, renewal noticesfor vehicle registrations that expire on April 30 were alreadymailed. A list of all the announced fee changes is available on thewebsite at www.gov.ns.ca/finance/fees/ .