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Friday, March 14, 2008

Highlights of Quebec's budget

For those who have followed Action Strategies' work in government relations, you will know that we also have a keen eye on what goes on in Quebec City. On March 13, Quebec Finance Minister, Monique Jerome-Forget released the 2008 budget. Where this will place Jean Charest's minority Liberal government stability remains to be seen. However, it is unlikely either the Action democratique du Quebec (ADQ) or Parti Quebecois (PQ) will feel themselves in a strong enough position to force an election.

It appears though that there will be enough in the budget for at least one or both of the opposition parties to continue propping up the government. In essence, here are a few of the elements presented by the Quebec Liberals:

 Completely eliminating, as of immediately, the tax on capital for all Qu├ębec firms in the manufacturing sector;
 Introducing a new investment tax credit available to all Quebec regions;
 Introducing a new tax credit to support the information technologies industry, available throughout Quebec.

 An investment of 250 million dollars over five years in universities;
 The launch of the Employment Pact that will enable as many Quebecers as
possible to integrate the labour market;
 A 20% increase in the funding for immigration, in particular for the integration and francization of newcomers.

 An increase from $1 500 to $2 000 over two years in the maximum amount of the tax credit for retirement income;
 A new 30% tax credit for informal caregivers to cover part of the expenses incurred to obtain replacement help;

 Limiting spending growth to 4.2% in 2008-2009;
 Making the government’s main missions—health, education and support for families—the investment priority;
 Increasing from 50% to 75% the share of Hydro-Quebec’s profits paid as
dividends to the government, which will avoid the addition of $11 billion to the
government debt by 2025.
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Mark Buzan is the owner of Action Strategies, a public affairs & government relations consultancy. He brings a number of years of understanding of working with various government agencies and policy makers. You can subscribe now to his monthly public affairs newsletter by visiting the newsletter section of his website.

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