two consecutive balanced budgets, “due primarily to measures undertaken by the government to control spending”; lower debt-to-GDP ratio and foreign currency debt exposure; solid economic performance in 2002 with expectations for continued growth in 2003; Nova Scotia’s debt reduction plan; and the province becoming one of the first in Canada to report its finances on a fully consolidated basis. Premier John Hamm welcomed news that Standard & Poor’s RatingServices has upgraded the outlook to Nova Scotia’s credit rating. The respected bond rating agency announced today, Aug. 18, thatit will change Nova Scotia’s issuer credit rating from A-minusstable to A-minus positive. “This is independent proof that Nova Scotia’s finances are on theright track and continue to get better,” said Premier Hamm. “Stable government finances will help keep our economy growingand allow us to pay for the things that Nova Scotians care about,like health care and education.” According to Standard & Poor’s, Nova Scotia’s credit ratingimproved based on some of the following factors: “Thanks to the hard work and sacrifices made by many NovaScotians, our province has turned the corner and improved ourfinances to a positive position not seen in 40 years,” said thepremier.