$2.3B worth of tax cuts for Quebecers, government announces in economic update – Montreal

A healthy economy has bolstered Quebec government coffers, a largesse that will be shared in the form of wide-ranging tax cuts.

In his fall economic update, Finance Minister Carlos Leitão said Quebecers can expect a $200 reduction on their income taxes beginning this year. 

Parents, as well, will receive $100 annually for each child between the ages of four and 16.

In all, the provincial government is offering tax relief totalling $2.3 billion. 

The cuts were enabled by stronger than expected economic growth and past budget-tightening measures, Leitão said.

In the March budget, he had projected GDP growth of 1.7 per cent in 2017. That figure is now expected to be 2.6 per cent.

“All Quebec families must be able to reap, and will be able to reap in the years to come, the benefits of growth,” he said during a news conference in Quebec City.

The Quebec government posted a $2.4-billion surplus for the 2016-2017 fiscal year. Roughly half of that went to financing the tax cuts. 

Leitão is using the rest of the surplus to reinvest in social services. Health and education will see their budgets increased by $630 million and $444 million respectively, but those amounts will be stretched over six years.

Those investments, he said, will enable the province to hire 500 elementary school professionals, such as speech therapists.

The money earmarked for the health sector will go to improving residential care services for seniors, as well as improving mental health services for vulnerable clienteles.

$25 million a year will be spent informing the public of the risks of cannabis use, in response to the federal legalization coming into effect in July 2018.

More to come.

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