Shelly Yacimovich at the President's residence 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
MKs are gearing up for sleepless nights next week as the 2013-14 state budget
heads for its first Knesset vote on Monday.
The budget and the Economic
Arrangements Bill will be brought to a first reading in the plenum at 4 p.m. The
opposition, along with some coalition members, is expected to voice its
disapproval of the bills through the night.
The legislation is expected
to pass the first vote, despite the hours of opposition speeches.
that, the bills will be brought to the Knesset Finance Committee, where
lawmakers will discuss and vote on each article, sometimes making significant
changes, before they are brought to the plenum for their second and third
If the budget is not approved by July 30, an early
national election will be scheduled.
Labor prepared a detailed document
this week with all of its objections to the Economic Arrangements Bill, calling
for the public to contribute comments and suggestions for changes.
Labor MK took on a different section of the bill, which has 83 articles on
topics ranging from public libraries’ funding to rabbis’ salaries to
agricultural tariffs, and is traditionally passed at the same time as the
“This analysis is an additional and necessary step in our
struggle against the budget.
We’ve already had some minor achievements,
but most of our work is ahead of this,” opposition leader Shelly Yacimovich
According to Yacimovich, this year’s Economic Arrangements
Bill is one of the most “difficult and baffling” ever submitted to the
“The previous laws had some kind of internal logic, even if it
was a destructive, conservative unequal logic,” she said. “This time, this law
is a collection of proposals that gathered dust in the desk drawers of Finance
Ministry Budget Division bureaucrats, as if someone cleaned out the ministry and
threw every unused proposal in a box.”
Yacimovich explained that the
Economic Arrangements Bill was an emergency measure invented in 1985 that has
since turned into a tool for the government to easily change policies without
having to pass a bill for each one.
“The bill destroys the ability to
make decisions in a structured, thorough, organized and democratic way,” she
Earlier this week, Finance Minister Yair Lapid officially submitted
the bills, presenting them to Knesset Speaker Yuli Edelstein and discussing them
with the Knesset Finance Committee.
During the discussion, Lapid learned
that the coalition would not give him an easy time on the budget
Finance Committee chairman Nissan Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) told
Lapid that “the committee under [his] authority will make changes to benefit the
middle class and weak sectors, and distribute the burden in a more just manner
on all levels of society.”
MK Gila Gamliel (Likud Beytenu), who
coordinates the coalition’s dealings with the budget in the Finance Committee,
listed several elements of the budget that will not make it through the
committee: taxes on housing upgrades and housewives, the lowering of daycare
subsidies and a blanket increase on income tax.
Gamliel and MK Orly Levy-
Abecasis (Likud Beytenu) voted against raising VAT last month, and MK Miri Regev
(Likud Beytenu) walked out rather than rebel against the coalition, but only
after giving a plenum speech in which she said Lapid is “spitting in the face”
of the middle class.
While a Likud source denied that the three female
MKs are working together in an organized way to oppose the budget, he said they
will continue to be vocal about their objections to elements that will harm the
middle class and those with lower incomes.