The government's spending estimates are forcing Quebec universities to deal with smaller budget increases than in previous years, but the Parti-Québécois government is blaming budget reductions on the previous Liberal government.

Today the head of Quebec's treasury board, Stéphane Bédard, released the government's spending estimates for the next year and a half. The PQ said that it inherited a financial mess form the former Liberal government.

Universities will not get the same level of additional funding as they have in the past, but Bédard said it's not his fault that belt-tightening is necessary in order to reach a balanced budget by 2014.

In its spending estimates, the PQ said that it is counting on "optimizing" operations in the civil service in order to save hundreds of millions of dollars.

Core public services will continue to receive budget increases, including health care, education, and daycares.

The government plans to increase university budgets by about three per cent for the next year, an increase that is less than what universities received in past years. Last year the Liberal government gave universities a five per cent budget increase.

The projected allocation for next year is nearly $51 million more than the $5.12 billion allocated for 2012-2013.

Other sectors, including international relations, natural resources, and employment services are facing budget cuts.

Opposition parties have pointed to the cuts in employment services, and say that the spending reductions could hamper job growth.

Quebec Solidaire has been critical of the PQ's spending plans, saying that the poorest in the province will end up footing the for the government's austerity.