Quebec budget announces a one-point hike in the provincial sales tax for 2011. That’ll raise almost enough money to make up for the $700 million tax cut Jean Charest favoured Quebecers with after the federal government “fixed” the “fiscal imbalance.”
Other budget highlights: new arts spending that doesn’t quite replace the amount of the cuts that got Charest so exercised last autumn. A freeze on social-science research grants. Not a dime of new core university funding. Not a syllable about increasing tuition fees so universities can get more of the money they need from students. No links; it’s all too depressing.
UPDATE: Okay, one link. The finance minister used economic projections that assume half the economic contraction most private-sector forecasters are predicting. So the real world will probably be a lot worse than this budget! This clinches it: Charest wants to replace Harper, and he’s demonstrating that there would be perfect continuity in budgeting.
SIMULTANEOUS REBUTTAL-DATE: Stephen Gordon rather likes the thing, because of the one thing that runs counter to perfect Harper-Charest budget continuity: that PST hike.