Beware of crazy promises!
That opposition party leaders are multiplying campaign promises to woo voters is fair game. Especially in this election campaign, where their chances of taking power are almost nil, if the polls are to be believed.
But the fact that outgoing Prime Minister François Legault is even “more generous” than his opponents is beyond understanding. It is very likely that he put his feet in the harness.
Why ? Because he should be extremely cautious about the negative impact that costly campaign promises can have on the financial health of the Quebec government, given his very good chances of staying in power.
I have no doubt that the province’s public finances are in better shape than its Treasury Secretary, Eric Girard, suggested when he presented his budget for the current fiscal year last March.
Thanks to an unexpected surplus in tax revenues, the Quebec government is now expected to report cumulative budget surpluses of $7.6 billion over the three fiscal years 2022-23, according to the Pre-election Report on the State of Public Finances 2025-26 . (We are talking about surpluses before transferring the money to the generational fund.)
Back to big deficits
Given the abundance of campaign promises, let’s forget the budget surpluses forecast in the pre-election report. The Quebec government will fall back into the hole.
The campaign had barely begun when François Legault himself set the tone by unveiling costly campaign promises that would quickly “burn up” those $7.6 billion in three-year budget surpluses.
As a reminder, here are the main “election gifts” unveiled by François Legault, leader of the Caquistes, this first week of elections.
- 1% reduction in the first two tax brackets from 2023: $7.4 billion in tax relief over 4 years.
- Payment by the end of the year of $600 to those earning less than $50,000 and $400 to those earning between $50,000 and $100,000: a gift of 3, $5 billion.
- Improving support for seniors age 70 and older by increasing from $411 to a maximum of $2,000: a $1.6 billion pledge.
- Creation of a Blue Fund: $650 million.
- One subsidized childcare place for each child: $1.4 billion.
- Build 11,700 social and affordable housing units and subsidize 7,200 more homes through the Rent Supplement Program: a $1.8 billion bill.
- Trained and recruited 660 physicians and 5,000 health professionals: $400 million.
- Additional amount for the renovation of 600 schools: $2 billion.
- Limiting all government rate hikes to 3% or less: $2.2 billion.
$21 billion in commitments
Francois Legault’s previous campaign promises amount to $21 billion.
And remember, he has four more weeks of campaigning to make more campaign promises.
With the Caquiste slogan “CONTINUONS” we understood that with Legault ” The sky is the limit »
Where does he get the money from?
On October 4th, the day after his most likely re-election, where will François Legault get the tens of billions of dollars to fund his expensive campaign promises?
After completely “burning” the projected surpluses of $7.6 billion over three years, he will be faced with three choices:
1. Declare serious deficits in the next term;
2. waiving certain election promises;
3. Dive into the Generation Fund pot to fund said promises.
If François Legault uses the money accumulated in the Generations Fund to pay his campaign pledges, it will result in the national debt increasing by the same amount.
If that were the case, our young people and future generations would have to foot the bill. The same goes for the heavy deficits related to the crazy promises of the current election campaign.