PQ needs to find $800 million to meet budget targets
Outgoing Quebec Finance Minister Raymond Bachand offered an optimistic picture of Quebec's finances Thursday. (CP file photo)
By Martin Ouellet, THE CANADIAN PRESS
Published Thursday, September 13, 2012 4:42PM EDT
QUEBEC - The new PQ government will need to come up with $800 million if it wants to stay Jean Charest’s course to balancing the province’s books.
Outgoing Finance Minister Raymond Bachand produced those numbers Thursday in his final report before swapping his cabinet-minister’s limousine seats for a chair in the opposition side of the National Assembly.
The 2011-2012 provincial budget, valued at $3.3 billion, will see a lower-than-expected deficit.
The rosy numbers were partly a result of better controlled program spending, which was contained at a rate of to 2.3 percent.
The budget documents forecast a return to balanced books in 2013-2014, as the province is slated to have its last deficit, of $1.5 billion, in 2012-2013.
However, the Parti Quebecois government will have to find a way to come up with $800 million to get to that state of balance.
Bachand said that the battle to save is complicated by frequent overspending at various government ministries.
Quebec’s economy grew in 2012, despite the slowdown elsewhere in the world, as private investment is increased in the manufacturing, mining and construction sectors.
Ministry data also noted that Quebec exports rose 5.6 percent during the first six months of the year.