Quebec's deficit worse than expected
The Canadian Press
Published Tuesday, October 27, 2009 11:34AM EDT
QUEBEC CITY - Quebec is projecting a deficit of $4.7 billion this year, up from the $3.9 billion laid out in last spring's budget.
Finance Minister Raymond Bachand says Quebec will have deficits totalling $13.2 billion over the next few years before posting a balanced budget in 2013-14.
Bachand told a news conference in Quebec City today the province will have to find $5.1 billion in new revenues by 2013.
The Charest government has warned that the sales tax and a range of fees could all be hiked.
"If we give ourselves the means to have health system which is of the quality we want, if we give ourselves the means to have a university system that is better financed than it is today, I think that's good news. So there are good taxes that are basically revenues of the state to pay services to the citizens," said Bachand.
The opposition said the numbers can't be trusted until Quebcers know what the taxes will be used to cover.
"It's not possible at this stage to assess the approporiatness of a measure without knowing the full plan," said PQ MNA Nicolas Rousseau.
Quebec is just the latest jurisdiction to project higher-than-expected deficits.
Ontario announced its shortfall this year would soar to $24.7 billion from the $14.1-billion forecast in the March budget and the revised June prediction of $18.5 billion.
And federal Finance Minister Jim Flaherty has admitted the national deficit is expected to balloon to more than $50 billion - much more than the $34 billion he predicted in the January budget.