QUEBEC – Highlights of Quebec’s 2014-15 budget, which was tabled in the national assembly on Thursday:
Deficit: $1.75 billion on revenue of $71.6 billion; projected balanced budget in 2015-16.
Gross debt: Projected at $205.6 billion as of March 31, 2015, or 54.4 per cent of gross domestic product.
Government spending: Growth of two per cent in each of 2014-15, 2015-16 and 2016-17.
Daycare: Increases to $8 a day, in September 2014, from $7; climbs to $9 in September 2015 and will be indexed in subsequent years.
Housing: $270 million for 3,250 new social units, including 500 for the homeless.
Non-resident students: Tuition fees and exemptions for students from outside Quebec will be reviewed.
Firefighters: In the wake of the Lac-Megantic and L’Isle-Verte tragedies, $4 million to provide training for part-time volunteer firefighters.
Income tax: No new hikes.
Physicians and government employees: Government promises ”responsible” negotiations when their contracts expire March 31, 2015; says salaries must take into account what taxpayers can afford.
Quote: ”I think today’s budget is one that Quebec needs.” — Finance Minister Nicolas Marceau.