(Montreal) Finance Minister Eric Girard predicts that the impact of the new embargo on Quebec’s public economy will reach $ 2 billion, although he is continuing on his current deficit target.
Therefore, when it comes time to table its next budget, the deficit should be 15 billion, taking into account the payment of 2.7 billion in the Generations Fund – a tool intended to reduce debt in the province.
As part of his participation, on Friday, at the unveiling of the seventh “Tax Report in Quebec” by the School of Management at the University of Sherbrooke, Mr Girard stressed the implications of detention and curfew. Less compared to the suspension of operations in the province last spring.
« [Les secteurs] Manufacturing and construction have not been shut down, the minister said in a telephone interview after the event. Support programs are all in place. Businesses such as restaurants with take-out orders are well suited for telecommuting. ”
Overall, the budget impact is estimated to oscillate between $ 1 billion and $ 2 billion, meaning the $ 4 billion contingency reserve announced in the fall should be sufficient, the regional treasurer said.
In addition to businesses that do not need to be closed, the measures, which take effect Saturday, will force grocery stores and convenience stores to close their doors, allowing their employees to respect the curfew.
However, the current situation should force Girard to adjust his forecast for his gross domestic product (GDP) growth – adjusted for inflation – as his fall for the current year has increased by 5% in the economic update.
“The drop ranges from one to two [point de pourcentage], He related. 5 should be between 5% 3% and 4%. But before it comes back. ”
He acknowledged that there were “too many variables” in the public sector, such as negotiations and pressure on the health network, which forced Quebec to loosen its purse strings further.
Since “priority” is “fighting the epidemic”, Girard predicts that “no one will be shaken” if the deficit reaches $ 17 billion by the end of this year.
The Finance Minister should announce the path to return to balanced budgets. Mr Girard estimates that the “construction deficit” will fluctuate between $ 6 billion and $ 7 billion once the recession is over.
To achieve this, he wants state spending to shift between 3% and 3.5%.
“In the past, growth rates have been costly […] Mr. Girard said the damage to the population was 1%. With a 3.5% increase in all missions in the state, I think it is possible to manage well. ”
To increase the tax burden on taxpayers, the minister has once again closed the door to the scenario of who should be the agent in the next generation fund or who should be deposited there.
For now, he wants to respect the Balanced Budget Act, which requires governments to reduce the deficit by a maximum of five years. Subsequent pre-budget consultations will be useful to identify solutions intended to ensure that government revenue growth exceeds spending.