The budget pushes taxes to the highest level ever and extends the lead Quebec maintains as the most over-taxed jurisdiction in North America. How that can be labelled as innovative, progressive or realistic is news to me. Had the finance minister tabled any such monstrosity in the United States, he'd have been lynched.
Quebec's problem is not on the revenue side, the problem is clearly wasteful overspending. You can't remedy wasteful spending by taxing more.
To ask Quebeckers to pay more to cover a budgetary shortfall is like an addict demanding more money from his parents to support a drug habit. Clearly the problem isn't about the price of cocaine...
Without getting into a lot of boring numbers, the Quebec government will raise $56 billion this year (with all these new taxes included) and spend $69 billion. Hmmm....
The federal government kicks in another $8.5 billion in equalization payments, money taken from other provinces, in a program based Robin Hood's example of stealing from the rich, to pay the poor.
Even so, Quebec's budget still remains short about $5 billion and consequently the Province must go to the bank and increase its overdraft, just like you or me.
That overdraft now stands at over $220 billion and will grow with the addition of this year's deficit.
The interest payments on this debt keeps growing as we keep piling on more debt. Its a vicious circle that everyone who has fallen behind on credit card debt understands, the more the interest payments rise, the less chance you have to pay off the debt.
Now anybody facing a similar situation in their personal life would be advised to seriously cut expenses, so how did the Quebec government react? By spending more!
With a straight face, the Finance Minister told Quebeckers that the government would tighten their belt and would limit this year's budget increase to just under 3%.
An increase!!!!!!!! INSANE!!!
By demanding that taxpayers continue to pony up ever larger and larger amounts of money, the government is making Quebeckers willing or unwilling enablers.
It's time to cut up the credit cards.
The province's ability to pay for this spending orgy is drawing to a close. Taxes can't be raised much more and the banks soon won't lend us more. Ask Greece.
Unfortunately, like all spending addicts, the Quebec government spends the money unwisely and always gets poor value.
Quebec spends 26% more than Ontario when identical public services are compared. That's because we have too many civil servants and para-public employees who don't work as hard as our neighbours and who are paid larger salaries and benefits. Our government owned corporations like Hydro-Quebec teeter on incompetence and produce half the revenue they should. Money is spent on programs that other richer provinces cannot afford.
In Ontario, public employees were told that their salaries would be frozen for several years. In Quebec the civil servants have already been promised 7% increase over three years. As outrageous as it sounds, those employees are threatening a strike to get more."You and your parents are spending a bunch of money to help Quebec, and they’re paying half the tuition you are. Not only do Quebecers pay less tuition, they also pay far less for electricity, drugs and daycare. Quebec offers a more generous parental leave program than elsewhere, and higher corporate subsidies." -Ted Morton, Alberta’s finance minister who vowed to visit university campuses and deliver a message to students. Link
Just like a true addict, our Finance Minister pleaded that he could mend his ways. He brought along evidence that he could spend less and was serious about paring down the size government. To prove his point, he produced a list of 28 government agencies that he was abolishing.
The truth is somewhat different, because he wasn't exactly abolishing them, just their independent status, most were rolled into other Ministries.
One of those agencies,"le regroupement du Fonds relatif à la tempête de verglas" is an organization whose job it is to distribute compensation to those affected by the famous Ice Storm in 1998, twelve years ago. I'm not kidding!
"This restructuring will have a direct impact on existing staff. I want to reassure employees potentially affected. They will be treated with respect, in accordance with collective agreements in force," said the Minister.Sounds like people are going to be fired, right?
Not a chance!
It isn't contractually possible to fire a civil servant whose job has been eliminated, they have job security for life! FOR LIFE!
Now go back and read the Minister's statement in light of that fact...... Just a tad misleading, don't you think?
Anyone who believes that this new 'realistic' budget will deliver the province financial stability is delusional.
Nothing has changed at all.
It's funny, the Greek government has the same attitude.