- David Boudeweel-Lefebvre
Québec budget: preliminary analysis
Québec 2021-2022 budget : pandemic relief and economic relaunch all in a very prudent package
Under the theme “A resilient and confident Québec”, Minister of Finance Eric Girard unveiled its third annual Québec budget. It has been, by far, his most difficult budget to put together. Pressures on public finances are strong and Québec is at a crossroad between ending COVID-19 and relaunching the economy.
Here are the budgetary highlights:
Government expenditures for 2021-2022 will be at 130.4 billion dollars.
Revenues are projected at 122.6 billion dollars.
Projected deficit for 2021-2022 is at 12.3 billion, including a 3.08 billion payment to the Fonds des Générations, which is the province’s investment fund.
Return to a balanced budget is forecasted to be in play for 2027-2028.
In the budget, the minister focused on 3 main priorities:
4.5 billion more to Québec infrastructure plan which will now top 135 billion over 10 years. Close to 60% of that sum is expected to be spent before 2025-2026.
10.3 billion of dollars to solidify healthcare, including 7 billion for pandemic-related investments and 2 billion for old-age and nursing homes.
1.5 billion for the education sector, including 574 million to help kids succeed in class and 669 million for post-secondary education.
This year’s exercise is remarkably thin in new announcements. Ministerial budgets outside of the main priorities are quasi frozen. The minister of Finance wanted to keep some wiggle room for next year’s election preparation and, to be honest, current uncertainties in regard to revenues and expenditures were calling for prudence and restraint. The conservative approach has served him well in the past and it could very well serve him again.
Municipal elections will also be held this fall and this is usually a time when infrastructure spending goes up to finance bridges, roads, public transits and other investments at the municipal level.
Projected deficit is 3 billion less than what the minister had announced in his fall economic update. We can expect Québec’s economy to roll over the next few months and the situation could be even rosier than what has been announced today.
There are no tax increases for individuals and corporations but we can expect some fee increases over the year.
Total costs of the pandemic have so far been projected to be close to 30 billion for the province. That covers expenses and lost revenues.
We will make sure to dig deeper in this budget to provide you with the latest updates.