Lapid Netanyahu at Knesset swear in 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Finance Minister Yair Lapid on Thursday presented Prime Minister Binyamin
Netanyahu with his outline for the 2013-2014 state budget, which includes new
taxes and billions of shekels worth of cuts to projected spending.
the budget plan was not made public, it reportedly includes sharp cuts in child
allotments, government wages and defense, plus a 1 percent increase in value
According to the Calcalist
, the budget outline includes NIS 14
billion in cuts for 2013, an additional NIS 6b. of cuts for 2014 and NIS
6b. in additional tax revenues in both years.
Those spending cuts
include NIS 4b.-5b. from the civil service, NIS 3b.-4b. from defense, with an
equal amount from child allotments and NIS 2b.-4b. from infrastructure
Yet a representative for Lapid would disclose only that the
budgetary framework includes new taxes on affluent goods such as luxury
apartments and cars.
Opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich dismissed the
luxury taxes, saying, “The ridiculous, populist attempt to sell to the Israeli
public that the solution to a deep deficit will come from taxing luxury cars is
simply an insult to the intelligence of the nation’s citizens.”
accused Lapid of trying to cover up the damage his budget would cause the middle
class and workers.
“The upcoming meetings between the finance minister
and prime minister are completely extraneous, as Netanyahu wrote the program
himself and already authorized it exactly, even before the election,” she
Lapid and Netanyahu were scheduled to continue their meeting on
Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On praised the taxes as a welcome
step, but agreed they were not enough.
“If Lapid wants to prove that he
will take the money to cover the deficit from the wealthy, he can’t settle for
taxing their cars,” she said. “The big money Lapid is looking for is in tax
exemptions enjoyed by a handful of huge companies and the aggressive tax
planning of tycoons and capitalists.”
Hadash MK Dov Henin added that
while he was “in favor of taking money from those who have plenty,” he was also
“utterly opposed to making the burden heavier on the forgotten middle class, on
the working public and the marginalized groups who receive benefits.”
late-night meeting between Lapid and Histadrut labor federation chairman Ofer
Eini on Wednesday, in which Lapid tried to rally support for lowering wages in
the public sector, ended without agreement.
The same day, Transportation
Minister Israel Katz spoke out against purported delays to infrastructure
projects such as building railway lines and road projects, saying they would
harm economic growth.
On Tuesday, Yacimovich blasted Lapid over rumors
that he planned education cuts that would raise university and college tuition
by 20%, rumors he denied in a post on Facebook.
Lapid himself sent out a
statement on Monday night, unprompted, announcing that he had saved women from
enduring a half-point tax benefit cut worth NIS 109.5 a month, which costs the
government NIS 700 million a year.