2012 Quebec Budget - our reaction
March 20, 2012 –
The presentation of the Quebec budget didn’t make many waves this year
since the tax increases, which are presently weighing down heavily on us, were announced in 2010. During this time, the government missed its own targets in matters of expense. There were $3.6 billion in budget overages spent over the course of the last two financial terms (2009-10 and 2010-11). No, the government did not do its part. If Quebec is on track towards a balanced budget, it’s because its revenues were higher than expected, not because the finance minister cut any expense from the colossal budgetary diet.
The middle class continues to subsidize the painful burden that the
government claimed was inevitable to square the deficit. In 2013,
families with an annual income as modest as $60,000 will pay $1,000 more
than they did in 2009. This amount has been estimated by the finance
minister himself, and only includes the increase in QST, the gas tax,
and the controversial “user fee” healthcare tax. But taxpayers face
many other tax increases, contributions and tariffs, e.g. driver’s
license, rental board, parental insurance, electricity tariffs, school
taxes, municipal taxes, etcetera, etcetera.
Taxpayers are suffocating under the weight of their tax obligations
and, in return, receive services that often leave little to be desired.
When the era of deficits will be behind us, accepting the status quo
will be out of the question. The next budget must include a plan to
return the taxpayers’ fiscal burden to the level it was prior to the
This consists of relieving taxpayers, but also of obliging the
government to do more to contain and reduce its expenditures in certain
sectors. We mustn’t forget that our elected officials are largely
responsible for the budgetary impasse that developed during the last
recession. The federal government and most provinces took advantage
of the booming economy of the last decade to stabilize their finances
and reimburse their debts. The Quebec government, on the other hand,
continued to spend manically.
Between 2001 and 2007, different governments never ceased to violate
the spirit of the Balanced Budget Act by presenting budgets that were
factually deficient and unbalanced. The Auditor General estimates the
accumulated deficits of those six years at $5.8 billion! Then, when
the recession hit, the government had no more manoeuvring room and was
forced to add to our financial burden in order save the farm. History
will again repeat itself at the next recession if nothing changes.
Taxpayers justly demand that the government makes a serious effort
to contain its expenses, reduce bureaucracy, and improve the management
of all aspects of government. Mr. Bachand, are you hearing us clearly?
Translation by R. Girgis.