2008-2009 Expenditure Budget - Press release 1 of 2 - RESPONDING TO THE PRIORITIES OF QUEBECERS WHILE MAINTAINING SOUND AND RESPONSIBLE MANAGEMENT



    QUEBEC CITY, March 13 /CNW Telbec/ - "The Expenditure Budget that I am
tabling today bears witness to disciplined and responsible financial
management. As we have done since 2003-2004, we are keeping strict control
over expenditures. But at the same time we are responding to the priorities of
Quebecers, namely health, education and family," said Monique Jérôme-Forget,
Minister of Finance, Minister of Government Services, Minister responsible for
Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du Trésor, as she tabled
the 2008-2009 Expenditure Budget.

    Priority to Health, Education and Family

    As it has done every year since 2003, the Government is giving priority
to health, education and family. These three sectors alone receive more than
88% of the total program increases in 2008-2009, amounting to over $2 billion.

    $1.3 Billion More on Health

    The Health and Social Services budget increases by over $1.3-billion, a
5.5% increase bringing this portfolio's budget to $25.5 billion. The
government is making good on its commitment to fund network system costs and
additional services to account for population aging and the special needs of
seniors. This Expenditure Budget thus provides for an annual amount of
$80 million as of 2008-2009 for seniors with diminished autonomy.

    $612.4 Million More on Education

    The budget for Education, Recreation and Sport rises by $612.4 million, a
4.6% increase. This sharp increase, one of the biggest in the past fifteen
years for this portfolio, will contribute to maintaining reinvestments in this
area to increase higher education budgets by $1 billion per year up to
2011-2012. This includes an additional $453 million for universities and
colleges, $53 million more than the government's commitment for 2008-2009.

    $100.9 Million More on Family

    Also, an additional $100.9 million is earmarked for the Family and
Seniors program, a 5.5% increase. The Expenditure Budget will thereby allow
the continued implementation of our commitment of providing 20,000 new
reduced-contribution childcare spaces, adding 4,500 new spaces in 2008-2009.

    Maintaining Tight Control on Spending

    Québec's performance in controlling spending has topped the other
provinces since 2003-2004. The average expenditure growth in the other
Canadian provinces was 6.8% between 2003-2004 and 2007-2008. In a recent study
the C.D. Howe Institute pointed out that Québec had the lowest gap between
spending forecasts and reality in Canada in the past ten years, particularly
since 2003-2004.
    In 2008-2009 the government will continue to exert tight control over
program spending, limiting its growth to 4.2%. Such a growth rate represents a
$2.3 billion increase, which will bring program spending up to $56.9 billion.
This will bring the weight of spending relative to the economy to 18.4% in
2008-2009, one of the lowest rates in 35 years.

    A Balanced Approach

    "The government is not scattering its resources. On one hand, we must
respond to the needs of the people, which is what we are doing by investing in
our health, education and family priorities. On the other hand, we must
continue controlling spending growth and invest in our public infrastructure
so that we can leave a sound legacy to Quebecers in the future. This 2008-2009
Expenditure Budget focuses on striking a balance between sound expenditure
management and making investments responding to needs," concluded the Chair of
the Conseil du trésor.
    -%SU: TAX,EDU,SAN,SOC,TER
    -%RE: 1




For further information:

For further information: Catherine Poulin, Press attaché, (418)
643-5270, (514) 873-5363

Organization Profile

CABINET DE LA MINISTRE DES FINANCES, MINISTRE DES SERVICES GOUVERNEMENTAUX, MINISTRE RESPONSABLE DE L'ADMINISTRATION GOUVERNEMENTALE, PRESIDENTE DU CONSEIL DU TRESOR

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