Gafni vows to stop Trajtenberg recommendations in committee

“The members of my committee will take the report apart and approve only what is good for the public,” Gafni says.

By GIL STERN STERN HOFFMAN
October 11, 2011 03:00
2 minute read.
MK Moshe Gafni

MK Moshe Gafni 311. (photo credit: Courtesy)

 
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Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu overcame one hurdle when the cabinet approved the recommendations of the Trajtenberg Committee on Sunday, but passing many of the committee’s proposals in the Knesset could be even more challenging, coalition and opposition MKs said Monday.

Each of the committee’s recommendations will require approval by an individual vote in the cabinet and the Knesset Finance Committee and three votes in the Knesset plenum. MKs estimated that completing the legislation on all of the Trajtenberg recommendations could take more than a year.

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Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism) said he told Netanyahu that, had he been a minister, he would have voted against the Trajtenberg recommendations on Sunday.

“The members of my committee will take the report apart and approve only what is good for the public,” Gafni said.

“What the finance committee decides is right for the public will pass and what it doesn’t won’t, no matter what the government decides.”

Shas MKs will cooperate with Gafni and opposition MKs to block some of the key recommendations. A Shas spokesman said his party’s MKs would vote in favor of clauses they support and present alternative, more comprehensive bills on issues they oppose.

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MK Meir Sheetrit (Kadima), who is a former finance minister, said the Trajtenberg Committee did not do enough to solve the housing shortage or tax the wealthy.
He said it was wrong to lower the gas tax instead of decreasing the cost of public transportation, and that he opposed the recommendation that would enable free education for children aged 3-4.

“The report is a missed opportunity,” Sheetrit said.

“The report gives incentives to those who don’t work. For instance, 52 percent of the children in the ages that would be given free education are haredim [ultra- Orthodox] and Arabs, people who don’t serve and don’t work. I say instead give tax breaks to working mothers.”

Sheetrit predicted that Trajtenberg’s call for defense budget cuts would not pass, especially if the vote on the cut came after a victory by the Muslim Brotherhood in next month’s parliamentary election in Egypt.

“If Egypt becomes an enemy, we will have to raise the defense budget, not lower it,” he said.

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