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On Thursday, March 26, the Honourable Carlos Leitao, Minister of Finance,
delivered Quebec’s annual Provincial Budget. Moments before, the Minister
announced that his party had delivered on its election promises of a balanced budget
in 2015: “This is a turning point, not an end point. And we’ve done it without raising
To achieve its objective, the government relies on a more streamlined public service
infrastructure, particularly in the health and education sectors which will see
increases in their budget of 1.4% and 0.2% respectively (which after inflation will
effectively consist in spending cuts in those sectors). Overall spending will cap at
1.5% in 2015-2016, a ceiling the likes of which haven’t been seen since the 1990s
under Lucien Bouchard.
The government is further buoyed by an optimistic outlook on economic growth for
the future which it pegs at 2.0% for 2015-2016. This optimism is largely based on
its predictions of increased investment by businesses fuelled by the lower dollar and
U.S. recovery; increased household spending thanks to the lower gas rates, leaving
more money in households pockets; and lower interest rates which have allowed the
government to adjust their previous forecasts on debt financing costs downwards by
$300M to $400M over the next few years.
In terms of the fiscal impact, the budgetary plan stretches over five years with very
little immediate tangible effect during the current year. Most tax relief measures will
begin to take effect in 2017 and be phased in over the following years.
Download a summary [PDF] of the tax highlights from the 2014 - 2015 Québec Budget here.
Related Topics:Budget Announcements; Government
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