The Caquiste government of François Legault boasts of having made the portfolio of Quebecers a priority for his government by returning nearly $ 3 billion a year.
But François Legault and his Minister of Finance Eric Girard omit to say that, despite this apparent generosity, the Legault government will draw considerably more taxes from the pockets of Quebec taxpayers.
For the current fiscal year, for example, the CAQ government will extract $18 billion more from us in taxes, duties, fees and permits than in 2018-19 when it took over from the Liberal government of Philippe Couillard.
When a government, after having returned $3 billion to taxpayers, manages to get some $18 billion more from the pockets of the same taxpayers in one year, there is really nothing to brag about.
After the stroke of electoral genius to have recently paid a gift of $500 to each of the 6.4 million Quebec taxpayers earning a net income of $100,000 or less, the Legault government will grant them another cash gift for help them with the rising cost of living.
And that's good since the chief caquist will formalize said gift in September, just at the dawn of the elections on October 3. It was the Minister of Finance, Eric Girard, who had the honor of confirming this other financial boost.
We do not yet know if the amount of this other gift will also be $500, and if it will be paid through a refundable tax credit (like the previous one) or by check.
Politically speaking, we agree that inflation “befits the government of François Legault perfectly” since it allowed him to distribute gifts of money to 95% of all taxpayers, and this, in the middle of an election year.
Nothing better than a small gift to remind voters that it pays to vote for the party in power!
After five years of budget surplus, four of which were under the rule of Liberal Finance Minister Carlos Leitão, the Legault government was forced to end its last three years in power in the red of several billion dollars.
It is obviously because of the financial consequences generated by the COVID-19 pandemic on the economy and public finances that the Legault government, like all governments around the world, has found in deficit.
Finance Minister Eric Girard may have come to draw billions more in taxes from the pockets of taxpayers during the two years of the pandemic, in addition to benefiting from a significant increase of several billion in federal transfers from the government of Justin Trudeau, these additional revenues could not cover the increase in government spending (health, education, economy, etc.).
The dramatic consequences of COVID-19 on health have notably forced the government to considerably increase the portfolio of the Ministry of Health and Social Services. We are talking about an increase of $10 billion in 2020-21, which was followed by an additional increase of $4 billion in 2021-22.
Minister Girard expects to end the current fiscal year (2022-23) with a deficit (before transfer of money to the Generations Fund) of $3 billion. But with the addition in September of the other election giveaway to taxpayers to offset inflation, the deficit could turn out to be higher. Unless he succeeds in siphoning off more personal income tax from us again.
During Carlos Leitao's last Liberal budget, that of 2018-19, the Quebec government reported a surplus of $7.9 billion.
The Quebec government's debt currently stands at $207 billion, up $22 billion from the Couillard government's last year. It represents 38.8% of the province's GDP.
A little more boasting from Minister Eric Girard.
He says that the financial efforts made by the Legault government have made it possible to reduce the wealth gap with Ontario. The gap between the GDP per capita of Quebec compared to that of Ontario has increased, he says, from 16.8% in 2018 to 13.6% in 2022. His objective is to reduce the gap to 10 % by 2026.
Through numerous initiatives led by its Minister of the Economy, former businessman Pierre Fitzgibbon, the Legault government has invested billions of dollars in financial assistance for businesses and other economic programs (innovation, research, digital shift, etc.).
Under François Legault and his minister Pierre Fitzgibbon, Investissement Québec and the Development Fund lead the way in the business world in Québec.
To monitor !