Tax cuts, cash for health care, education in Quebec's economic update

The Quebec government will announce a $200 income-tax cut, as well as a commitment to invest more in education and health care in Tuesday's economic update, Radio-Canada's Sebastien Bovet has learned.

With provincial election on horizon, Couillard government gives income tax break, plans spending in key areas

The Quebec government will announce a $200 income tax cut, as well as a commitment to invest more in education and health care in Tuesday's economic update, Radio-Canada's Sebastien Bovet has learned.

Finance Minister Carlos Leitão is planning to invest a total of $1 billion in the two sectors over a five-year period, sources said.

The economic update is expected to centre around three main themes: the income tax cut, investments in education and health care, and social assistance.

The tax cuts could be retroactive, meaning they would apply to the current fiscal year rather than 2018.

The economic update comes less than a year before the next provincial election, with Premier Philippe Couillard's Liberals struggling in the polls.

After austerity, tax cuts

Leitão said last week that Quebecers in the "middle tax brackets" will benefit from cuts.

"It won't be for the richest," Leitão said in a video, flanked by Couillard. "But Quebecers in the middle-income tax brackets will receive, very concretely, a reduction in the taxes they pay."

The tax cuts and spending planned for Tuesday are a departure from the austerity measures put forth by the Liberals in the first two years of their mandate.

Quebec tabled its third consecutive balanced budget last spring, which included a modest $55 tax cut for the 2017 tax year.

Opposition parties ridiculed the government at the time for what was described as a meagre offering and a pathetic attempt to give back crumbs to Quebecers who suffered from Liberal budget cuts in the early part of their mandate.

A more detailed anti-poverty plan from Employment and Social Solidarity Minister François Blais is expected by the end of the year.

When he tabled last year's budget, Leitão said Quebec was on pace to end the 2017-18 fiscal year with a $2.5-billion surplus.

With files from Radio-Canada's Sébastien Bovet and The Canadian Press