Quebec posts $2.5 billion surplus
Quebec Finance Minister Carlos Leitao explains his economic update at a news conference Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at the legislature in Quebec City. (Jacques Boissinot/The Canadian Press)
Published Thursday, June 22, 2017 8:28AM EDT
Quebec's plan to once again balance the budget for 2016-2017 has been more successful than planned.
It turns out the province posted a $2.5 billion surplus in the fiscal year that ended in March -- but that's just a drop in the bucket compared to Quebec's substantial debt of more than $200 billion.
Finance Minister Carlos Leitao said the surplus would go toward a contingency fund for emergencies, which will now consist of a $4.7 billion reserve.
Funds from this emergency fund are used for things like helping homeowners affected by floods, or providing $300 million in funding for the softwood lumber industry after the U.S. increased tariffs.
The Auditor General will review the fiscal figures later in the year.
Leitao said the difference between the current figures and those released in the March budget are due to higher corporate tax revenue, increased revenue from Crown corporations, and other income streams.
In response to several years of balanced budgets including debt repayment, earlier this month the U.S. bond rating agency S&P boosted Quebec's credit rating to AA-, which means Quebec will pay less interest on the provincial debt.
According to Leitao's latest budget, Quebec should earn a $2.5 billion surplus for 2017-18, which would go toward paying down the debt.