2008-2009 BUDGET - Press release 1 of 6 - 2008-2009 Budget Speech - PRUDENCE AND DISCIPLINE

    QUEBEC, March 13 /CNW Telbec/ - The 2008-2009 Budget, tabled today before
the National Assembly by Minister of Finance, Minister of Government Services,
Minister responsible for Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du
trésor Monique Jérôme-Forget, is in line with the government's plan to create
a new economic space for Québec in order to enhance the well-being of all
    This budget, prepared in the context of an economic slowdown, is marked
by prudence and discipline. It is a balanced budget that does not provide for
any tax increases. It is a five-part budget.

    Rewarding investment to stimulate productivity

    The opening up of new markets in Asia, Europe and the Americas is aimed
at creating new business opportunities for our companies. To seize
opportunities that arise, companies must invest in their modernization and
increase their productivity. This budget encourages companies to accelerate
investment by:

    - completely eliminating, as of immediately, the tax on capital for all
      Québec firms in the manufacturing sector;
    - introducing a new investment tax credit available to all Québec
    - introducing a new tax credit to support the information technologies
      industry, available throughout Québec.

    Developing the talent and skills of Quebecers

    As workers become scarcer, Québec needs all of its talent. This budget
proposes to invest in education, technical and vocational training, and labour
market integration of newcomers. It provides for:

    - an additional investment of 250 million dollars over five years in our
    - the launch of the Employment Pact that will enable as many Quebecers as
      possible to integrate the labour market;
    - a 20% increase in the funding for immigration, in particular for the
      integration and francization of newcomers.

    Supporting our families

    Economic development has meaning only if it contributes to social
progress. We are doing more to support families, children and seniors. This
budget provides for:

    - the creation of 20 000 new daycare spaces over five years, to
      facilitate work-family balance;
    - a substantial improvement to the tax credit for child care expenses;
    - the simplification and improvement of the tax credit for home support
      and the development of home support services;
    - an increase from $1 500 to $2 000 over two years in the maximum amount
      of the tax credit for retirement income;
    - a new 30% tax credit for informal caregivers to cover part of the
      expenses incurred to obtain replacement help;
    - the creation, in partnership with the Chagnon family, of two funds-one
      to stimulate the development of children from underprivileged
      backgrounds, and the other to improve and develop respite services and
      assist informal caregivers.

    Staying the course towards sustainable development

    Sustainable development, because it fosters innovation, also fosters
wealth creation. To enable Québec to remain a North American leader in
environment protection, this budget provides for:

    - 12 million dollars over four years to support innovation under a new
      green technology strategy;
    - 106 million dollars over five years to increase the protection and
      enhancement of our collective heritage;
    - 15 million dollars over five years to set up the Bureau québécois de
      connaissances de l'eau, which will be mandated to increase our
      expertise regarding this resource;
    - a new environmentally responsible government policy to incorporate
      sustainable development principles into public sector procurement

    Meeting the public finance challenge

    Much order has been restored to Québec's public finances since 2003. The
credit rating upgrades received from rating agencies bear witness to the work
accomplished. This budget continues on that path. To that end, this budget
provides for:

    - limiting spending growth to 4.2% in 2008-2009;
    - making the government's main missions-health, education and support for
      families-the investment priority;
    - increasing from 50% to 75% the share of Hydro-Québec's profits paid as
      dividends to the government, which will avoid the addition of
      $11 billion to the government debt by 2025.

    For the sake of transparency, this budget has a five-year financial
framework to demonstrate that a balanced budget is maintained over this
    Lastly, this budget was prepared in accordance with the new accounting
rules adopted in the wake of the recommendations of the Task Force on
Government Accounting made up of representatives from the ministère des
Finances and the Auditor General's office.
    "It is a rallying budget that carries our ambition for a more prosperous
society in which all citizens, regardless of their origin and age, can fully
contribute to our shared success. I am proud of this 2008-2009 Budget, as I am
proud to be a part of this government, which has the competence to ensure
Québec's growth", stated Minister Jérôme-Forget.
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For further information:

For further information: Catherine Poulin, Press Officer, Office of the
Minister of Finance, Minister of Government Services, Minister responsible for
Government Administration and Chair of the Conseil du trésor, (418) 643-5270,
(514) 873-5363, www.finances.gouv.qc.ca

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