Quebec budget proposes funding for Outaouais Rapibus

The Outaouais region will get $146.3 million for its Rapibus transit project if the Quebec budget passes.

Tax cuts get mixed reviews

The Outaouais region will get $146.3 million for its Rapibus transit project if the Quebec budget passes.

The money for the Société de transport de l'Outaouais andmillions in tax cuts wereboth items of interest to western Quebec residents in the budget proposed by Premier Jean Charest's Liberal minority government Thursday.

STO president Louise Poirier told CBC's French language service Radio-Canada that the money would cover 75 per cent of the cost ofbuilding dedicated bus corridors in and around Gatineau.

"For us, it's excellent news," she said in French. "It means the government's intention is to proceed and make sure that in September 2010,[the project] will be complete."

However, she emphasized that an important step remains: the official announcement and the signing of official documents.

Tax cuts met with praise, skepticism

Liberal Finance Minister Monique Jérôme-Forget's $950 million in tax cuts received some positive response in the region.

Michael Tinkler, president of the Gatineaufinancial management consulting firm Synerma, said the cuts will save up to $2,000 for a family with two children and an income of more than $100,000.

"The impressive part about this tax cut is that where prior tax cuts in the last three budgets have targeted lower income earners, this targets all levels," he said.

Gilles-André Paquin, co-ordinator of a local consumer advocacy co-operative that offers budget consultations and other services, said he wonders if there are hidden costs to the tax cuts.

"Is it an increase in Hydro-Québec rates? Is it a privatization of health care? We're worried," Paquin, a spokesman for l'Association Coopérative Économie Familiale told Radio-Canada.

Meanwhile, both opposition parties in the National Assembly have said they will vote against the Liberals' new proposed budget, which would force another Quebec election.