Quebec announces tax breaks for families, businesses in economic update
The Quebec government is promising more than $3 billion over five years in targeted tax breaks for families and businesses as part of its economic update.
The Coalition Avenir Quebec (CAQ) says it has inherited a $1.7-billion surplus for this fiscal year.
On Monday morning, Finance Minister Éric Girard and Premier François Legault announced the government plans to offer tax assistance programs to low-income seniors ($200 a year) and low-income families ($500 a year for second and/or third children), the latter, a “baby bonus,” was promised by the CAQ during the election campaign.
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These programs will be phased in over four years.
The government announced a freeze on additional contributions to daycare; they will no longer rise with inflation.
The economic update also includes plans to take $8 billion out of the Generations Fund to immediately start reducing the debt — this is in addition to the $2 billion the previous Liberal government paid this year.
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The former Liberal government planned to do the same, but in four years. Legault insisted he wanted to be prudent in case of a drop in the stock market.
“We think if there’s a correction, we will not lose as much money in this fund,” he said.
The CAQ said it believes this will save them $332 million in interest payments over the next five years.
Two things the CAQ did not mention during the update was its promise to go back to single rates for daycare and the plan to lower school taxes and equalize the rate across the province.
The latter plan is estimated to cost the government about $700 million a year.
The premier says those initiatives are coming in the spring budget.
“What we’ll do is what we said,” he said.
The Liberals insist this is cunning political maneuvering.
“You wait for the money to be available. It is available today; they chose to postpone it and there’s only one reason for that — to make people forget about it and not do it,” said Liberal MNA Gaétan Barrette.
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