Legault government to present next budget March 12

By News Staff & The Canadian Press

The Quebec government will present its budget on March 12.

Finance Minister Eric Girard made the announcement during a press scrum at the National Assembly on Thursday morning ahead of question period.

He said the priorities will be healthcare and education, in order to improve services.

It will cover the 2024-2025 period and Girard admitted it will be a difficult budget.

Girard indicated that Quebec had to deal with “exceptional circumstances which are difficult,” but which are “definitely manageable.”

The minister, however, refused to say that this would be his most difficult budget to present to Quebecers, or to talk about austerity.

“What you will see is that we have less income because the economy has slowed down in the last year,” he explained.

Premier François Legault at a press scrum shortly after said Quebecers should not expect taxes to increase or services to be reduced.

“The deficit will be much greater, but there will be no service cuts and there will be no tax increase,” he said.

“We made the choice to invest massively in the working conditions of teachers and nurses. I think this is the choice that had to be made.”

Last Sunday, Legault promised the major investments in education announced Sunday would not lead to a period of austerity, despite an anticipated budget deficit.

“This is a budget in which I am proud to say that for five years already, we have invested massively in education,” he said Thursday. We are taking advantage of collective agreement negotiations to do this even more. It’s still not nothing when we say that teachers, those who are in the middle of the scale, will have a 27 per cent salary increase. I am very proud of that.”

Recently, the Quebec government highlighted “important progress” for the education network, aimed at guaranteeing stability of the network as well as better support and greater autonomy for teaching staff.

The government has committed to providing 4,000 classroom assistants and creating 5,000 new permanent positions for teaching staff.

Salary was at the heart of the last round of negotiations. The agreement guarantees new teachers will receive a starting salary of $65,000 per year. The maximum salary increased from $92,000 to $109,000.

-With files from La Presse Canadienne

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