Bill 40 is pointless and opens a Pandora's box, says the Montreal Economic Institute

    MONTREAL, June 16 /CNW Telbec/ - Bill 40 amending the Balanced Budget
Act, currently being debated in the National Assembly, is unjustified and
opens a Pandora's box, says Michel Kelly-Gagnon, president and CEO of the
Montreal Economic Institute.
    Through this amendment, the Quebec government seeks to suspend its
obligation to balance its books for the next five years. However, the existing
law already contains measures allowing it to run deficits in some special
situations, including deterioration in the economic situation.
    "The government can even run new deficits during the tax refund period if
economic conditions do not improve," Mr. Kelly-Gagnon stated. "This makes it
pointless and even irresponsible to suspend application of the anti-deficit
law indefinitely, as the government is currently attempting to do."

    Taxpayers will end up paying more

    The Institute has been examining Quebec government finances for several
years. A few weeks ago, it published an analysis showing the scope of Quebec's
public debt. It notes, among other things, that Quebec has the highest per
capita net debt of the large Canadian provinces.
    "Deficits mean deferred taxes, in actual practice," Mr. Kelly-Gagnon
added. "The marginal income tax rate for Quebec residents, combining both
levels of government, already stands at 48.2%."

    The Montreal Economic Institute is an independent, non-partisan,
not-for-profit research and education organization. Through studies and
speeches, the MEI contributes to debate on public policy in Quebec and across
Canada, suggesting reforms for wealth creation based on market mechanisms.

For further information:

For further information: and interview requests: André Valiquette,
Director of communications, Montreal Economic Institute, (514) 273-0969, ext.
2225, Cell: (514) 574-0969,

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