“Structural changes” to find another billion

ministre-finances-carlos-leitao(Quebec) Couillard The government will introduce a mini-budget before the end of the year, probably at the end of November, an “economic update” which will contain a first tax cut, as advocated game plan in the report of tax Luc Godbout.

But with the carrot comes the stick. During an Extraordinary Council of Ministers next Monday in Quebec City, members of the government will engage in a demanding exercise: Specify the last part of the $ 800 million cuts that will apply to end the year 2015- 2016 targets. And most importantly, provide the slopes for cuts in 2016-2017, where to find nearly $ 1 billion in savings.

Most ministers were left completely in the fog on the contents of the Extraordinary Council of Ministers. Some will get their game plan for structural changes that would facilitate the achievement of the budgetary targets next year. For 2015-2016, the government is “on target” in terms of both revenue and expenditure, but the 800 million remain a major challenge before reaching the end of the fiscal year.

Like last year, the “economic return” will soon look like a mini-budget because you will find decisions on tax incidence. To apply to a taxation year, a measure must be notified before 1 January. Last year, the Minister of Finance Carlos Leitao had taken advantage of the operation from early December to announce a series of bad news, increases taxes on alcohol.

In return, he must expect an operation that goes beyond simple cuts in program budgets, to redo every year. We want structural changes which year after year, will result in savings. Thus, the partial privatization of scenarios Liquor Corporation or Hydro Quebec are totally scrapped – these operations would provide significant gains, but non-recurring.

A single tax return

According to information obtained by La Presse, the government examine seriously the idea of transferring the federal tax collection, at least for companies, a proposal of the report of the committee chaired by Lucienne Robillard, released at the end of the month of August. The government in opinion polls pocket showing that taxpayers are frustrated to have to complete two tax returns, one for Quebec and one for Ottawa. If he manages to convince the public that “fiscal autonomy” is preserved, the government will willingly Couillard in this direction, a politically sensitive choice.

Many of the recommendations of the report were Robillard validated in advance by the government. “Let’s say we have not had many surprises in the publication” Does summarizes in pharmacies.

Consolidation of regional services

Another recommendation of the report Robillard, Quebec will address reduction of area service points. The offices of the various ministries and agencies will be grouped into a single point of service, according to the plan explained to his colleagues by the Deputy Minister of Employment, Bernard Matte.

The network of local employment centers, under the responsibility of Sam Hamad, is best placed to serve as the backbone combinations. Minister Hamad board for a few weeks on an ambitious reform that will have repercussions in the region.

Liquor: more efficiency first

At the Société des alcools du Québec (SAQ), the government has “a strong desire to see the business model” to impose more efficiency to the organization. The end of the monopoly is studied by the government, but it will happen in the short term. The corporation says it always gives more money to the government but do we observe, it still costs more in administration costs.

The report Lucienne Robillard proposed reducing the SAQ’s profit margin to fill the space with a tax increase. The result would be neutral for the consumer, but the corporation would be forced to be more efficient. Bonuses frames will now be linked to the achievement of new goals of efficiency at the SAQ.

Negos: no special law for now

No way to declare the conditions of the employees, as the negotiations progress, especially on the side of the health system, says one. The Extraordinary Council of Ministers will be an opportunity to take stock. The government can not decide anything without considering the ongoing negotiations – salaries of the public sector account for 60% of its expenses.

The Minister said recently that Coiteux time was not the decree. The aim of the negotiations is daunting: Quebec seeks savings of 689 million for this fiscal year. The government feels that the current environment does not lend itself to file a special law. “It would have to swim in the population, and we do not feel at this point,” says one.

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