CAQ promises to balance Quebec's budget in 5 years amid nearly $30B in party promises

·1 min read
Eric Girard, outgoing Quebec finance minister and Coalition Avenir Québec candidate, left, looks on as CAQ leader François Legault speaks at a news conference outlining the party’s costed platform on Sept. 10, 2022.  (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)
Eric Girard, outgoing Quebec finance minister and Coalition Avenir Québec candidate, left, looks on as CAQ leader François Legault speaks at a news conference outlining the party’s costed platform on Sept. 10, 2022. (Graham Hughes/The Canadian Press - image credit)

Coalition Avenir Québec Leader François Legault is promising to balance Quebec's budget in five years if his party is re-elected on Oct. 3.

Speaking to reporters Saturday in Saint-Jerome, Que., Legault presented his financial framework, saying his party is the only one with a credible plan to return to a balanced budget and pay down the province's debt.

The CAQ has made $29.6 billion in promises, including a one percentage point cut in the tax rate of the two lowest tax brackets.

"It's important to table a fiscal framework that is responsible, prudent, with provisions for risks," Legault said.

The party said it would increase spending on its infrastructure plan and boost its education and heath budgets by 3.5 per cent and 4.5 per cent, respectively, over the course of its mandate. It would also set aside $8 billion for various economic risks.

This added spending would increase the province's projected deficit for 2022-23 from 1.6 billion in the CAQ's pre-election forecast to $7.6 billion.

The financial framework forecasts a $3.3 billion increase in annual revenues during the 2024-27 period, as well as a $2 billion reduction in spending.

The party said that the net debt-to-GDP ratio will continue to decline until reaching 31 per cent by 2032-33.

Outgoing Finance Minister Éric Girard, who was also in attendance Saturday, said the plan is "responsible and realistic."

Meanwhile, Liberal Leader Dominique Anglade was in Quebec's Eastern Townships where she promised to give municipalities more tax powers.

In particular, she said a Liberal government would pay municipal property taxes on provincial government buildings, which is not currently the case.