In the first month of 2013, Israel posted a budget surplus of NIS 2.6 billion, the Ministry of Finance announced Thursday.
While a surplus is positive news in comparison to the NIS 39b. budget deficit in 2012, which caused a political upheaval in the run-up to the general elections on January 22, the news is not as good as it may first sound.
Differences in seasonal spending mean that the budget in January is not representative of the year. Despite the overall deficit in 2012, for example, in January of that year the government posted a surplus of NIS 6.1b., over double the current windfall. In comparison to last January, expenditures rose from NIS 17.5b. to NIS 19b., while revenues fell from NIS 23.6 to NIS 21.6. On the bright side, the tax revenues collected exceeded expectations by about NIS 1b.
Because the government has not passed a 2013 budget, it is operating on a "1/12" framework, in which it disperses government offices monthly funds equivalent exactly to 1/12 of the previous year's budget.