2012-2013 BUDGET- Press release no. 2 of 17 - Public Finances Under Control: Staying the Course Towards a Balanced Budget in 2012-2013
QUÉBEC, March 20, 2012 /CNW Telbec/ - "The budget affirms our firm
intention to restore fiscal balance in 2013-2014 and maintain the
funding of public services. The deficit is once again lower than
forecast, spending growth is under control and we are staying the
course towards a balanced budget," declared Minister of Finance Raymond
Bachand today in tabling the Québec government's Budget 2012-2013.
He reiterated that sound public finances are essential to Québec's
economic development and the maintenance of public services "A balance
between revenue and expenditure is the only sustainable path in the
long term," the Minister reiterated.
Deficit adjusted downward by $500 million in 2011-2012
"For the third year in a row, we are adjusting the deficit downward. The
projected deficit for 2011-2012 is $3.3 billion, or $500 million less
than forecast in the last budget. In 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, the
deficit was $3.2 billion, or $1.1 billion less than anticipated in each
case. Next year, in 2012-2013, we estimate that the deficit will be
reduced to $1.5 billion. We will restore fiscal balance in 2013-1014,"
the Minister announced.
Spending reduction objective met for the second year in a row
Government efforts to offset the difference between revenue and
expenditure are continuing to bear fruit. "Although we had forecast,
under the plan to restore fiscal balance, that the effort supplied by
the government to reduce spending and fight tax evasion would amount to
$3.1 billion for 2011-2012, it was, in fact, $3.5 billion. We have
achieved and even surpassed our objectives," the Minister said.
Spending growth of 2.0% in 2012-2013
He also stressed that the government has met its budgetary deficit
reduction targets particularly by slowing growth in its spending. While
program spending growth was 5.3% in 2009-2010, it was rolled back
gradually to 3.0% in 2010-2011 and then 2.0% in 2011-2012. Spending
growth should remain at 2.0% in 2012-2013 and fall to 1.8% in
2013-2014. As for consolidated expenditure, which represents all of the
public expenditure included in the government's reporting entity, apart
from debt service, it is not expected to grow by more than 2.0% in
2012-2013. "Government spending is under control," affirmed Mr.
However, he pointed out that despite the need to slow spending growth,
the government has been able to maintain the funding of services,
particularly in health, education and child care.
The Minister reiterated that, in recent years, the government has taken
steps to ensure the sustainability of funding for health spending,
particularly by keeping average annual growth in such spending at 5.0%.
While underscoring the fact that the government will allocate
approximately $100 million to health per day within the next five
years, he said that the quality of health care is not dependent solely
on the amounts allocated to it. "The funding method also has an impact
on the quality of services and the efficiency of the system. As is
increasingly the case elsewhere the world, we must move toward
activity-based funding methods in order to boost not only service
quality but also efficiency and transparency, while distributing
resources in a fairer, more optimal manner."
"We are setting up an expert panel to study these funding methods and
make recommendations on the implementation of this type of funding,"
the Minister announced.
Increased deposits in the Generations Fund
"Even with a deficit, we have paid $2.3 billion into the Generations
Fund since 2009. When we achieve a balanced budget as of 2013-2014, we
will increase the amounts allocated to the Generations Fund to repay
the debt: $1 billion in 2013-2014, $1.6 billion the following year, up
to $2.5 billion in 2016-2017," the Minister concluded.