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Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao tabled the 2014-2015 Quebec budget today, and it’s quite densely packed. The government plans to erase the deficit by the 2015-2016 budget, which we should see again this time next year, an ambitious goal amid claims that the PQ underestimated the deficit, which Leitao says now stands at $3.1 billion.

 

Cent cent coinsPeter J. Thompson

Cent cent coins
Peter J. Thompson

 

New taxes and fees

Daycare’s going to cost more, but not much more. It has been $7/day for just about ever, will be going up to $7.30/day, with the creation of 6,300 new places. This is lower than the PQ’s pledged hike to $9/day.

So are cigarettes, which will have a hike of $0.50 per pack, making those smokers poorer to encourage them to stop smoking. Got it.

There will be a five-cent tax increase on a 341-millilitre bottle of beer, on top of sales tax. There is also a 24-cent increase of a 750-millilitre bottle of wine. It’s rough. Yet, there will be a seven-cent reduction in the beer tax at a bar. So, the taxes of beer will depend where you are, who’s serving it to you, and what kind of hat you’re wearing.

Thankfully, there will be no income tax increase, leaving the combined federal and provincial income tax burden at 49.7%, but there will also be no decrease.

Lastly, there will be a reduction of 20% in business tax credits, and the elimination of other credits, while increasing tax credits for workers.

 

Public Works

Hiring freeze until March 2016 in education and healthcare, while investing $2.3 billion in health and social services.

$250 million to build 3,000 social housing units in the province, in addition to the already existing 11,059.

$90.3 billion on infrastructure over 10 years,with the bulk going to the road network.

Plus, $25 million to improve transit from the West-Island to the Montreal downtown core and to Montreal hospitals. Not enough for a metro in Fairview, but maybe enough for one of those plastic metro mock-ups with a “Construction starting in 2030” signs.

 

The provincial debt now stands at $198 billion, which is quite a bit, but hey, at least they’re trying.