Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (L) and Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein .
(photo credit: KNESSET SPOKESMAN'S OFFICE)
Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon agreed on Tuesday to remove 18 articles from the Economic Arrangements Bill, less than a week before it and the state budget are set to be submitted to the legislature.
The Economic Arrangements Bill is passed in tandem with the budget each year and outlines the basic economic policies that are meant to accompany it. It is usually very long, and often features articles that have little to do with the budget.
As such, Edelstein and Kahlon met earlier this week, with the speaker expressing concern the Knesset will not have time to thoroughly review all of its contents, and calling to cut down the bill and have some of its parts brought to panels other than the Knesset Finance Committee.
On Tuesday night, they completed the process.
Some of the articles to be removed from the EAB are changing the model for nursing compensation, regulating the process through which financial bodies give information to the Tax Authority, amendments to the law against money laundering, and others.
Three of the articles will be split from the EAB after a first Knesset reading and passed as separate laws: a reform in sheep and goat farming, requiring a waiting time between getting medical advice from a health fund doctor to getting private medical care, and the establishment of a united electricity authority.
Edelstein said he is glad that the budget and the EAB will be submitted on the planned date, August 31, with the first reading on September 2, without violating proper parliamentary procedure and while maintaining respect for the Knesset.
“I know the finance minister returned to politics [after leaving the Likud in 2012] to implement reforms that will benefit the citizens, and we promised to help him,” the speaker said. “Through our joint efforts, we have a balanced result that will bring correct economic management for Israel.”
Kahlon said he sees a great importance to protecting the Knesset’s status as a legislative body.
“I’m sure the MKs understand the public urgency in promoting the bills brought in the framework of the budget and the EAB that accompanies it, for the good of the country’s citizens,” he added.
Because the last government fell apart and the Knesset was dissolved in December 2014, before a 2015 budget could be passed, and Kahlon asked for an extension for his first budget, the new budget will be a two-year one for 2015-2016, which, in reality, will apply for only 13 months.