Minister of Finance Nicolas Marceau tabled a budget today, on the eve of a very likely snap general election call.

The anticipated $1.7 billion deficit for 2014–2015 represents 0.5% of GDP. The budget confirms the expected control of expenditures and a return to a balanced budget by 2015–2016.

This budget does not indicate any change to sales or income taxes. The main rates affected will be those for daycares and tuition for foreign students. Part of the tobacco tax will now go towards cultural sponsorships.

The government is using the opportunity to announce that it will introduce legislation to regulate the price of books, which we oppose.

The government also announced that it wants 50% of the food consumed in Québec to come from Québec, without specifying how it expects to reach this target (if not reached already).

In order to protect the presence of head offices in Québec, the government wants to amend the law to allow corporations to adopt variable voting rights based on how long shares have been held and to prevent hostile bidders from engaging in a number of operations with the target company.

The budget and related reports are available on the website of the Ministère des Finances et de l’Économie du Québec.

RCC Initiatives / Next Steps

RCC issued a press release supporting the government’s plans not to raise sales taxes any higher than they are now. We have, however, reiterated our disappointment at the government’s announcement in the budget that it intends to regulate the price of books. We will continue our lobbying during upcoming consultations, in order to recommend avenues the government can take to support independent bookstores other than fixing the price of books in Québec.

If you have any questions or comments, please call Jean-Guy Côté, Director, Government Relations and Public Affairs, at 514 966-2078, or email [email protected].