The Knesset Finance Committee on Tuesday approved a private legislation proposal for a NIS 200 million assistance program for the residents of Sderot and the Negev, which includes tax benefits and aid allocated to the areas of trade and education. "This is a significant breakthrough, which was reached in the committee to allocate NIS 200m. to the 30,000 residents along the confrontation line in the South - and in particular to Sderot residents, who have been under the continuous attack of Kassam rockets for the past seven years," said MK Stas Miseznikov, chairman of the Finance Committee, who launched the private legislation proposal. The legislation contemplates a 25-percent discount on income tax for the residents of the specified area for 2007 as well as for 2008 on approval by the Ministry of Finance and the Finance Committee. Other benefits include business tax exemptions, free education at day care centers and additional study classes for students in grades one through 12. The Finance Committee also agreed to changes in the law regarding municipal tax rate discounts, the aid fund for small businesses and in the area of the provision of professional training classes following long discussions with representatives of the Finance Ministry. Despite the continuous negotiations between Miseznikov and Finance Ministry representatives on the financing of the law and the concessions that were made, the Finance Ministry said it opposed the law mainly because of disagreements regarding the entitlement of free education at day care centers. The Sderot assistance program law will be presented to the Knesset for a second and third reading.