Posted by Saraline , Wednesday, March 31, 2010 11:43 AM
"Quebecers can look forward to paying a new 'health contribution' and a 15-per-cent sales tax in 2012 under the budget Finance Minister Raymond Bachand brought down yesterday. [...]
Parti Québécois leader Pauline Marois pointed out that in the 2008 election campaign, Premier Jean Charest gave no hint of higher taxes, fees and hydro rates to come.
'The government is going to pick the pocket of Quebecers,' she said."
The budget includes:
-four annual fuel-tax increases (Montreal and Quebec City are also authorized to add a fuel-tax increase)
-a new "health contribution" ($25 per doctor visit this July and $200 by 2012) with a ceiling of 1% per taxable income
-an increase of the price of electricity by 1 cent a kilowatt-hour
-increase in tuition funds in 2012 (it has not yet been determined how much they will increase)
-frozen salaries for two years for Premier Jean Charest, his ministers and MNAs, and managers in the public sector
-a 25% cut in advertising, training, and travel spending
-the possibility of eliminating 28 government agencies
-an increase from $3.50 to $5.50 to visit a provincial park
Can you guess which of these things is rubbing me the wrong way? I don't care about the increase in fuel tax or paying $5.50 to visit a provincial park. $5.50 doesn't seem like that much. I understand that Quebec has a lot of social programs and that the money to fund these programs needs to come from somewhere. But $200 per doctor visit seems like an awful lot and 2012 doesn't seem to be very far away. Are we living in a land of free health care or not?
I suppose it's nice that the Quebec government is attempting to pacify it's citizens by freezing Charest's salary for two years, because he's not going to be earning less money while Quebecers are paying more now, is he? I'd also like to know which 28 government agencies are at risk of being cut.
Edited to add a correction: The $200 health contribution would be annual, not per visit. The $25 would be per visit with a ceiling of 1% taxable income. I am still unimpressed.