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Auditor general’s pre-election report concludes Quebec government’s financial forecast is plausible

Can Quebec’s political events realistically promise voters tax cuts or massive ticket spending gadgets? It’s a debate which comes up in each election.

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QUEBEC  — The Coalition Avenir Québec authorities’s forecasts for Quebec’s funds are believable however there’s a “very excessive” stage of uncertainty in its long run forecasts owing to hovering inflation and pandemic and Ukraine war-related financial disruptions, the auditor basic says.

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However after forecasting a $7.4 billion deficit for 2021-2022 within the March 22 funds, the federal government however is awash in money as Quebec heads right into a fall election.

Releasing an impartial pre-election evaluation of the federal government’s funds, auditor basic Guylaine Leclerc says Quebec’s impartial revenues will proceed to climb — on common by 3.2 per cent a yr — as regular financial exercise resumes within the post-pandemic interval and governments proceed to struggle inflation.

On the identical time, Quebec might be spending much less on providers than forecast primarily as a result of it can’t discover the employees it wants to offer them owing to labour shortages, Leclerc says.

The result’s Leclerc estimates Quebec will report an accounting surplus of $1.772 billion within the 2022-2023 fiscal yr as a substitute of a deficit and a $2.6 billion surplus the yr after. These numbers are earlier than the common annual contribution to Quebec’s debt-fighting Generations Fund.

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“The assumptions made and forecasts associated to the monetary framework and debt are believable for the years 2022-2023 to 2024-2025,” Leclerc mentioned.

“Nonetheless, uncertainty surrounding these forecasts could be very excessive, particularly resulting from hovering inflation which has prompted financial insurance policies to tighten each in Canada and overseas, the battle in Ukraine and the persevering with results of the pandemic throughout the globe,” Leclerc mentioned in her report.

To err on the aspect of warning, the auditor suggests Quebec embrace different monetary forecasts together with a buffer of $2.4 billion within the 2023-2024 funds and $2.25 billion within the 2024-2025 forecast.

She famous the federal authorities just lately did precisely that: presenting a much less optimistic doable situation and one other extra constructive situation.

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Leclerc’s much-anticipated audit of Quebec’s books is a key pre-election marketing campaign occasion. It’s designed to make sure all of the political events have a bead on the state of the funds as they make their very own electoral guarantees.

In previous years, events have arrived in workplace solely to find the earlier authorities had hidden the true state of the funds. They then argue among the guarantees they made to voters can’t be fulfilled.

In releasing their election platform in June, Quebec’s Liberals promised a middle-class tax reduce. On Sunday, the Quebec Conservative Get together additionally promised a reduce.

Premier François Legault has hinted he’ll announce cuts over the course of the marketing campaign.

Quebecers go to the polls Oct. 3 with an election marketing campaign launch anticipated on the finish of August.

Leclerc is to carry a information convention later to elucidate her report adopted by a information convention by Quebec’s minister of finance, Eric Girard.

In an announcement, Girard welcomed the auditor’s analysis.

“Rigour and warning underpin the report,” Girard mentioned. “The monetary framework introduced on this report gives a clear, verified basis on which all of the events can elaborate their electoral platforms.”

Girard went additional, saying on account of the federal government’s rigorous administration of funds, the CAQ will be capable to promise a tax reduce in the course of the election marketing campaign.

“It’s our intention to scale back the fiscal burden (of Quebecers),” Girard mentioned at a information convention.

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