CAQ government yet to decide how to use $3B surplus, says finance minister

Quebec Finance Minister Éric Girard is beginning his mandate with a $3-billion surplus, but he says it's too soon to commit to how that money will be spent.

Premier François Legault has floated idea of returning money to taxpayers

Finance Minister Éric Girard, seen here during the election campaign in September, isn't ready to promise he'll return any budgetary surplus to taxpayers. Girard said Friday the financial picture may not be so rosy down the road, as interest rates climb. (Jacques Boissinot/Canadian Press)

Quebec Finance Minister Éric Girard is beginning his mandate with a $3-billion surplus, but he says it's too soon to commit to how that money will be spent.

He declined to go as far as Premier François Legault, who had suggested the surplus might be returned to Quebec taxpayers by the end of the year.

Girard cautioned that, with interest rates rising, next year's financial picture may not be so rosy. He said the surplus must be used in a responsible manner.

From April to August, the budget surplus — which includes a payment of $1.16 billion to the Generations Fund — increased by 74 per cent compared to the same period last year.

The surplus came from a 7.2 per cent increase in revenues from state enterprises, amounting to $1.7 billion, in addition to increased revenues from income, business and sales tax.

With files from La Presse Canadienne.