Bonne Fête nationale du Québec
Happy holiday Quebec.
But like all good parties, there is cleaning up that has to go on afterwards.
Recently Quebec passed a budget. Ho-hum, another 4 Billion or so in deficit. There then was a statement by the minister of finance that the work towards the tough budgets was just beginning. Wow! Might we actually solve this recurring debt issue in this province/nation?
Call it what you want, but Quebec should be a rich prosperous place, not an also ran province.
Here are some ideas on how to do that, but first we need to pay our bills, so like any good household, you need to have a plan to spend less than what you make so that you can save money for retirement, relaxation or rainy days.
Quebec Government spends about $95.6 Billion dollars a year:
- Health and social services $36B
- Education and culture $20B
- Economy and environment $12B
- Support for people $ 9B
- Administration and justice $ 7B
- That adds up to $85B
The balance is interest on accumulated debt, that adds up to almost 11Billion.
Now when times are tough the Government cuts a little here and a little there, annoys all sorts of people and applies a band aid solution to a situation that requires serious surgery. You notice that the word used was surgery and not amputation.
Quebec has about $200 Billion of Gross Debt. Its budget documents, show other amounts as well, but it we solve the whole issue so that we can apply savings to lowering taxes. That is what the above mentioned 11Billion goes to service – pay interest on.
Let’s pretend it was a mortgage on your house or condo. If you do not make those payments you will have your property repossessed.
But if we could get someone else to take on the debt, Quebec would save 11Billion a year on interest.
Apply 4 billion of that to balance the current budget, with an understanding that it could only go into deficit, if the government had accumulated surpluses in the past to support the deficit – i.e. in times of recession or crisis.
The remaining 7 Billion, could go to repaying the accumulated debt – 30 years at 7 Billion comes to 210 Billion, so the numbers can work.
How about the interest on that amount? We are glad you asked!
- If we had such a plan interest rates on borrowing money would be much lower, so interest would be 5 to 6 billion a year instead of the current amount
- We could get the Caisse de Depot, the manager of about 200B of assets of the Quebec Pension Plan, to manage this program, so no new bureaucrats
- The government could ask each main budget area, the 5 bullets above each have two areas, to plan savings growing to ½ to 1 Billion per year over the next 4 to 5 years
- Quebec could allow immigrants to come to Quebec that are prepared to invest a certain amount of money, that will boost our economy – think to the tune of $200,000 per year for a family of four
- Quebec should look at using some of its assets to secure this debt and allow them to be privatized, in part, pay taxes and run more efficiently. This includes Loto Quebec, SAQ (wine and spirits), Hydro Quebec and others. Savings, wealth and revenues would be significant.
- Quebec should look at emptying its prisons and detentions centers of non-violent offenders – justice should be swifter, terms shorter and lawyers made more redundant
- In line with 6) Quebec should legalize marijuana, tax it and get that and other areas that organized crime operate in the legitimate economy.
By taking the above steps Quebec would be well on its way to fixing its house and putting things back in order. Back in order is not enough. Quebec has about 100,000 people per year coming of age. We should be prepared to lend each and every one of them $15,000 dollars to start a business.
Some will fail.
Some will succeed.
But we would spark a revolution in thinking that could lead to more companies like Cirque du Soleil, Cinar, Saputo, Metro, Provi-soir, Jean Coutu, Just for Laughs, Jazz Festival and many others.
Quebec would be a party town, a little like: Las Vegas + Paris + New Orleans, all with our own charm and tastes. Imagine! Each weekend could be a Grand Prix weekend!
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