Death, Sex, and F-ing Taxes
Calling all QST-haters out there (translation: the entire population of Quebec): brace yourselves, because the QST is about to spike again as early as 2016. La Belle Province may raise its provincial sales tax to 11 percent (!), up one percentage point. The move comes about as a recommendation of University de Sherbrooke tax expert Luc Godbout last March, who, in addition to increasing the sales tax, also suggested hiking taxes on hydro rates, booze, cigarettes and gasoline. He also pushed for bonuses for older public-sector workers as an incentive to keep them in the workforce. According to Godbout, such measures would add at least $1 billion to the province’s GDP, while also boosting total disposable income by $600 million, increase private investment and help create new jobs. “If you look at the 10 Canadian provinces and 50 American states, you’ll see that Quebec has the second heaviest income tax,” said Godbout. “Even when you leave North America and look at the 41 countries in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and development (OECD) and European Union (EU), Quebec is still the second most heavily taxed. What we’re doing is important; it’s rare.” The tax reform is currently being studied at the National Assembly: Finance Minister Carlos Leitão announced his intentions to the press to implement the reform fully as soon as possible, first by reducing income taxes before following up with the sales tax hike.
Install an Ogre Instead
In other money news, dollars meet federal elections. Justin Trudeau said during a campaign stop in Brossard that he would axe the tolls the Conservatives want to impose on the new Champlain bridge. Expected to cost $4.23 billion, the steel-truss cantilever structure will need a toll of between $2.60 and $3.90 for each passage to pay for itself. However, nobody seems to be on board with Harper on this one. His political opponents argue that a toll system would increase congestion, with the NDP adding that it would hit lower-income families and commuters the hardest. The most used bridge in Canada is currently under massive reconstruction: an inspection report release last July found cracks, split in support cables, corrosion and surface deterioration on the 53 years old infrastructure.
The Wheels on the Digger Go Round and Round
The never ending saga of the Dorval overpass will soon add another chapter to the modern epic of Montreal’s endemic construction woes. After months of inactivity, construction will once again begin on the Dorval Interchange. Transport Quebec blamed the inertia on a dispute with CP Rail about pillars, which concluded with the rail company getting their wish granted: a new contract now stipulates that no pillars would be near the railways during construction. The new overpass should be finished by 2017 and the north side of the interchange should be completed by 2019. However, people are rightly fed up and not buying the new deadlines: the project for the Dorval Interchange was first announced in 2005 and estimated at $150 million. It is still unfinished with current estimates running at $500 million. “They were supposed to do it last year and the year before and the year before and they never did it,” said a resident of the area.
On the Positive Side…
On a positive final note, Westmount native Eugénie Bouchard found a way to break out of her losing rut and advances to the 3rd round of the US open 6-3, 6-7 (2), 6-3. She will face Slovakia’s Dominika Cibulkova.