Charest budget 2012

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Charest budget 2012

... will be tabled tomorrow, March 20.


[url= solidaire proposes a budget for the 99%[/url]



The budget will be tabled at 4:00 pm today.

Meanwhile, the PQ and Le Devoir and others are proposing that Québec look to the Australian example to raise revenues. Yesterday, Australia's senate finally confirmed a bill imposing a 30% tax on taxable profits of mining companies exploiting iron ore and coal - Australia's biggest export commodities - with China and India as the biggest customers. The debate had been ongoing for two years, when Labour's Kevin Rudd floated the idea in May 2010 of a 40% tax. The mining giants (Xstrata, Rio Tinto, BHP Billiton) mounted a huge campaign which actually led to Rudd's downfall and replacement by Julia Gilliard. Although the legislation has now passed (and becomes effective July 1), the battle isn't over by a long shot.

Québec's tax rate is 16%, and the Liberal government has shown no interest in raising it. Several economists, quoted in the article below, suggest that Québec could easily impose a "superprofit" tax of 30%, on profits over a certain percentage - without any risk that mining activities would decline:

[url= royalties - Australia shows the way[/url]



[url= budget - first reports[/url]

I'm no expert, but so far I see:

  • After years of regressive taxes (2% increase in provincial sales tax; new $200 per person per year health care tax; etc.), the budget offers almost no improvement in social services
  • Projected surpluses after next year, stemming mostly from mining and resource royalties, will be used to pay down the debt
  • No conciliatory gesture to striking students - "the decision is irrevocable", says finance minister Bachand
  • Tax incentives for workers to stay at work, or re-start work, after age 65 - nicely lining up with Harper's projected attack on OAS
  • A voluntary retirement savings plan for workers with no workplace pension - that's instead of supporting the demand to double the CPP/QPP
  • Tax credits for senior care at home - I guess that's instead of proper funding for the network of CHSLD (public seniors' care facilities), but I'll check further.