Monday, July 15, 2024

Another pair of budget eve running shoes

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Cole Hanson
Cole Hanson
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Despite the “exceptional performance” of the economy in 2021, it will be necessary to wait another five years before returning to a balanced budget, as Minister Eric Girard noted, on the eve of presenting his last budget before the elections.

“The economy has done well in 2021,” the finance minister repeated, playing the traditional shoe party game, a day before the 2022-2023 budget was presented.

Again this year, the minister picked out a new pair of sneakers, he said, and put them in front of the cameras.

Stevens LeBlanc / Journal de Quebec

Mr. Gerrard took the opportunity to announce good news: Quebec’s structural deficit – that is, the negative balance that will remain after the pandemic – which amounted to more than $6 billion a year ago, “melted in half” to find itself “below the $3 billion mark,” he said.

budget wise

But in the current context of uncertainty, there is no question of pushing the wheel back to balanced budgets, hoped for by 2027-2028.

“No, because the goal is to return to a balanced budget with as little effort as possible. This means that the transition is as smooth as possible, so we maintain the 2027-2028 target,” Minister Gerrard explained.

“It could be that we hit the equilibrium a year ago, two years ago, let it hover. But we still have a high degree of uncertainty: there is a pandemic, there is Russia’s invasion of Ukraine … So we have a prudent fiscal framework.

It now remains to be seen, tomorrow, how the government will offset the accelerating inflation as promised by Prime Minister François Legault. Do the rich also have the right to get a check?

At the beginning of the year, 3.3 million Quebecers received help ranging from $200 to $275 to cope with the “sudden” cost of living increase. Mr. Gerrard said it was a “targeted measure”. “And there, we look forward to a more general application,” the finance minister hinted, declining to confirm whether all taxpayers would receive a check.

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