MONTREAL, Feb. 20, 2014 /CNW Telbec/ - As it does every year when
Quebec's provincial budget is tabled, the Montreal Economic Institute
(MEI) has updated its debt clock. According to our estimates, the
public sector debt now stands at $264.2 billion. This is more than
$62,090 per taxpayer and 72.5% of GDP.
"The budget deficit is causing the debt to swell, but it also results
from the debt to the extent that debt service takes up a growing share
of the budget," explains Youri Chassin, the author of a new Viewpoint issued today by the MEI. "If we had reduced the debt by 25% over the
last few years, our public finances would be balanced today."
According to the auditor general of Quebec, government accounting
practices result in last year's deficit being undervalued by $626
million. Net debt, meanwhile, should have been shown as $8.1 billion
"Our province is living well beyond its means. Today, many are those who
admit this fact, and I am proud to say that we were among the first to
sound the alarm on this topic," declares Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president
and CEO of the MEI. "As is shown in our paper published today, if it
wants to avoid hitting a wall, it is paramount that the Quebec
government cut its expenditures."
In the Viewpoint from the MEI, Mr. Chassin reminds us that, in March 2010, the previous government
pledged to eliminate the deficit in 2013-2014 by splitting efforts
between spending control (62%) and more revenues from taxpayers (38%).
However, in the last year, the government has spent about $3.9 billion
more than set out for a return to fiscal balance, while revenues have
risen more quickly than forecast. Despite the claims of many, the data
from the department of finance show that there hasn't been overall any
austerity drive in Quebec.
The Viewpoint titled "Quebec government debt in 2014" is written by Youri Chassin, an
economist and the director of research at the Montreal Economic
Institute. This publication is available on our website.
The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan,
not-for-profit research and educational organization. Through its
studies and its conferences, the MEI stimulates debate on public
policies in Quebec and across Canada by proposing wealth-creating
reforms based on market mechanisms.
SOURCE: Montreal Economic Institute
For further information:
Interview requests: Mariam Diaby, Communications Director, Montreal Economic Institute / Tel.: 514-273-0969 ext. 2231 / Cell.: 514-668-3063 / Email: email@example.com