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Fully 76 percent of Israel's 253 local authorities registered deficits in the 2004 budget year, despite the fact that 56% of local authorities showed a rise in revenues, the Central Bureau of Statistics said Tuesday.
Overall revenues per capita grew 1.4% to NIS 4,893 from NIS 4,844 and spending per capita fell 1.4% to NIS 5,086 from NIS 5,181 in local authorities' regular budgets between 2003 and 2004.
The degree of financial autonomy and the amount of spending per capita vary widely among local authorities, the data showed.
"The authorities with the highest percentage of independent revenue are characterized by a high socioeconomic level or have large commercial activity," the bureau said in its annual report on local authorities based on 2004 data.
Tamar and Kfar Shmaryahu topped the list, with 94.2% and 92.8% of municipal funding originating from within the local authority, respectively, while Rosh Pina produced 88.5%; Tel Aviv-Jaffa 87%; Kiryat Tivon 84.4%; Hadera 82% and Ramat Gan 81%.
Local authorities most dependent on the state for their income were generally those known to be the poorest places within the Arab sector, particularly Beduin communities in the Negev. Both Lakiya and Kuseifa, the two most extreme cases, received just over 90% of their income from the central government, while Jisr e-Zarka produced 18.6% of its own revenue and Zarzir 17%.
Many Arab villages and Jewish communities in other disadvantaged "periphery" regions - including Netivot, Sderot, Kiryat Shmona, Ghajar and the Beduin city of Rahat - exhibited a slightly higher degree of financial autonomy, with roughly one-quarter to 40% of revenues generated internally.
Lower-middle-class Jewish towns and the bigger Arab and mixed cities received about half of their funding from the central government: Shlomi produced 47.6% of its own revenue, Nazareth 49.5%; Acre 53.8%; Safed 55.7%; and Shfaram 62.6%.
Tiberias generated 63.2% of its revenue; Jerusalem 67.2%; Beersheba 67.5%; Netanya 70.3%; Haifa 70.6%; Eilat 71.1%; Ashdod 72%, Karmiel 73.1% and Ashkelon 75.6%.
Spending per capita among local authorities averaged NIS 5,086 overall - regional councils averaged NIS 6,921; city halls averaged NIS 4,976 and local councils NIS 4,591. Among all types of local authorities, Tamar ranked 1st with NIS 38,473 spent per capita; Tel Aviv-Jaffa ranked 24th with NIS 8,700 spent per capita; Haifa 71st with NIS 6,289 spent; Rishon Lezion ranked 170th with NIS 4,537 and Jerusalem ranked 224th with NIS 3,635 spent per capita.
Educational spending per capita averaged NIS 5,330 per child aged 5 to 18, and ranged from NIS 1,440 per child in Taiba, NIS 1,500 in Rechasim and NIS 1,500 in Kiryat Ye'arim to NIS 12,100 in Mitzpe Ramon and NIS 15,640 in Elkana, the bureau said.
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