Government released the public accounts for the 2018-19 fiscal year today, July 25. “Budget 2018-19 focused on strengthening services and support for Nova Scotians through key investments in health care, education, early years, communities and the economy,” said Karen Casey, Minister of Finance and Treasury Board. “We made strategic investments while remaining fiscally responsible, and this approach helped us respond to increased demand for services and unexpected expenses, such as assisting farmers impacted by frost and increased demands on health care.” The annual public accounts report the actual financial results at the end of the fiscal year and compare them to the budget approved at the beginning of the fiscal year. The audited financial statements for the year ended March 31, 2019, show a final surplus of $120 million, $90.6 million higher than the budget estimate of $29.4 million. Consolidated revenue was up $101.9 million from the budget to $11.87 billion, mainly due to changes in revenue from petroleum royalties, provincial recoveries and federal equalization. Consolidated expenses were up $11.3 million to $11.75 billion, mainly due to an increase in demand for health-care services and increased funding for the remediation of Boat Harbour, Harrietsfield in Halifax Regional Municipality and two abandoned mines, Montague Mines in Dartmouth and Goldenville in Guysborough Co. At year end, net debt was $15.01 billion. The net debt to gross domestic product (GDP) ratio for 2018-19 was 34.1 per cent, down one percentage point from 2017-18. The net debt to GDP ratio has declined 3.7 percentage points since 2015. Auditor General Michael Pickup has provided an unqualified opinion on the province’s consolidated financial statements for the fiscal year ended March 31, 2019. Government entities also released compensation over $100,000 for individuals as required by the Public Sector Compensation Disclosure Act. This year’s public sector disclosure includes service payouts to public servants who chose the option for a one-time lump sum payment in place of the Public Service Award. In 2015, government announced its intention to phase out the Public Service Award, an allowance given on retirement and committed to honouring service amounts accumulated up to that point. Total service payouts that were paid in 2018-19 were $377.8 million. As a set of three volumes of accountability documents, the public accounts include the consolidated financial statements of the province and financial information of departments, financial statements of Crown corporations and funds, and departmental details about salaries, payments to suppliers, travel and other expenses. The documents are online at https://beta.novascotia.ca/public-accounts .