Québec City, Thursday, May 24, 2007 – "The expenditure budget I am tabling today shows stringent and responsible management of public finances. We are announcing tight control over spending and new investments in Quebecers’ priorities, namely health and education," said Minister of Finance and Chair of the Conseil du trésor, Monique Jérôme-Forget, as she tabled the 2007-2008 Expenditure Budget.
Since 2003-2004, Québec’s performance in terms of budget control has been by far one of the best in Canada. It has had an average annual spending growth of 4.2% over the past 4 years, while annual spending growth averaged 6.7% overall for the other provinces.
In 2007-2008, the government will maintain its tight control over program spending, limiting the increase to 3.9% or $2 billion, bringing forecast program spending to $53.8 billion.
Once again, the government is making health and education its priorities, as it has every year since 2003. These two sectors alone account for more than 98% of the increase in total spending. The budget for the Santé et Services sociaux portfolio will rise by nearly $1.4 billion or 6%, in 2007-2008. The budget for the Éducation, Loisir et Sport portfolio will increase by $643.6 million, up a substantial 5%. The budgets for the other portfolios remain essentially at their current levels.
The government has increased funding for health and social services by $6 billion since 2003. Over the same period, in the education sector funding is up by $2.2 billion. Thus the government has added more than $8 billion for health, social services and education, which accounts for 82% of the total increase in spending over this period.
The modernization of the State has saved the government $1 billion, which it has been able to reinvest in Quebecers’ priorities, namely health and education. "Since 2003-2004, the size of government has been reduced by more than 3,400 staff positions versus an increase of more than 2,000 per year before we took office,” said the Minister. In the next three years, an additional 3,800 positions will be eliminated, which will bring the total reduction to 10% of Québec’s public service staff level.
As part of the efforts to modernize government operations, five government services will be privatized:
"We do not think that operating a garage or designing road signs are essential missions of the government," commented the Minister.
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