March 18, 2019 4:28 pm
Updated: March 18, 2019 6:35 pm

Here’s what to expect from the 2019 Quebec provincial budget

WATCH: The CAQ will table its first budget on Thursday and it looks like the Legault government will be working with a significant surplus. But will that be enough to uphold all the promises that were made? As Global's Raquel Fletcher explains, the opposition parties are pressuring the CAQ to prioritize.

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The Coalition Avenir Québec government has money to work with as it prepares to table its first budget Thursday.

Quebec Finance Minister Eric Girard estimates a $1.7 billion spending budget, while the Institut du Québec calculated a budget surplus for the year could be over $4 billion.

Either way, Girard is in an enviable position.

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READ MORE: Quebec’s CAQ government to present first budget March 21

The new government has already made a lot of promises and opposition parties are putting pressure on the CAQ for things they say are priorities.

At a press conference on Monday morning, the Parti Québécois (PQ) said the time for promises is over — it wants real investment in public services. PQ finance critic Martin Ouellet said one main priority is $350 million to improve working conditions for nurses.

He also wants investment in green transportation projects to fight climate change, just like Québec Solidaire as well as many Quebecers who walked in Friday’s student strike.

“Public services need money and we need to do this transition with the green economy,” Ouellet said.

READ MORE: Liberal finance critic concerned about CAQ overspending in upcoming Quebec budget

Even with a surplus, it’s not clear yet how the CAQ will pay for everything it wants to do. Its campaign promises come with a $2.7-billion price tag, but its plan to harmonize school taxes so everyone pays the same rate, will cost Quebec $700 million dollars a year in tax revenue.

Also, the cost four-year-old pre-school across the province is still unknown, but Quebec Premier François Legault says it will happen no matter what.

READ MORE: Québec Solidaire wants government to invest $9B in public transportation to fight climate change

There are some ways the government plans to save money as well.

In his economic update in December, Girard revealed his plan to to pay down the debt faster, which he said will save on interest payments. The province plans to get rid of 5,000 public sector jobs and it’s still working on re-negotiating the contract the Liberal government signed with medical specialists.

The details of the provincial budget will be revealed on Thursday.

© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.

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