If the CAQ has suggestions to make, I will gladly hear them at our pre-budget consultations, albeit with some caution, because in terms of public finance management, the CAQ seems to suffer from clear shortcomings.
Indeed, I hope its proposals are more credible than its current messages.
First, let’s get the facts straight.
On childcare costs:
The adjusted childcare fees established by our government have spared lower-income families from the planned increase to $9 for all families, since in 2015:
- 34% of families with an income of $50,000 or less were protected from the planned increase and continued paying $7 instead of $9;
- Families with an income from $50,000 to $75,000 paid at most $8 per day;
- In total, close to 60% of families paid less than the planned increase to $9.
With childcare costs keyed to income, a progressive measure that respects families’ financial limits, parents’ contribution has returned to a level similar to when the funded childcare service network was established in 1997. This contribution ensures enduring funding for the network and quality services. How was the CAQ planning to fund this network?
On electricity rates:
For a third consecutive year, Hydro-Québec’s rate adjustment application to the Régie de l’énergie is below inflation:
- 2016: 0.7% increase, 0.7% inflation
- 2017: 0.7% increase, 0.9% inflation
- 2018: 1.1% application, 1.9% inflation (forecast)
These are Hydro-Québec’s lowest applications since 2010. Unlike the previous government, we took action to limit increases in electricity rates. We kept our promise. Don’t forget that in 2011, François Legault had promised to double electricity rates.
On the reduction of the tax burden:
We have already reduced Quebecers’ tax burden by over $1B per year (a decrease of approximately $500 per year for a middle-class family).
We are committed to using a part of the surplus we have accumulated, thanks to good public finance management and the state of the economy, to continue reducing the tax burden.
Our government will keep fulfilling its commitments and doing its job responsibly: properly managing public finances and supporting economic growth, putting more money into the improvement of public services, especially health and education, and reducing the tax burden while controlling our debt.
We are a reliable and responsible government and we are doing exactly what we said we would do.
Carlos J. Leitão
Minister of Finance