Shelly Yacimovich at Labor Central Committee 370.
(photo credit: Marc Israel Sellem/The Jerusalem Post)
Labor chairwoman Shelly Yacimovich revealed her party’s economic election
platform in Ashdod Monday night, promising to increase public expenditure by
collecting more tax revenues from the rich.
“I believe that all Israel’s
citizens must benefit from the state’s economic strength, and not just a lucky
few,” she said.
“I believe in social democracy, which means a fair
economy and just society, and a smart balance between a prosperous, booming,
entrepreneurial free market and a government that is accountable for its
citizens and allocates state resources responsibly and wisely.”
platform, which Labor is billing as an alternative to the policies of Prime
Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s government that will strengthen the poor and
middle class, was formulated by a team of around 50 professionals.
built on five “foundation stones”: basic services, fairer wages for employees,
reduced cost of living, fair competition and fair taxation.
heading of basic services, Labor says it will increase expenditure on health,
public transport, welfare, local authorities and personal security. It is
promising to go one better than the Netanyahu government by offering free
education for ages two and over, as well as increased expenditure for elementary
schools. Additionally, it is pledging to put an end to the outsourcing of
teachers to contract companies.
Contract workers were the focus of the
second foundation stone, with Yacimovich pledging to put an end to the practice
of employing them in the public sector. She also committed to increasing the
minimum wage and establishing a state-funded system for worker placement and
On the topic of the cost of living, the platform proposes
building thousands of housing units in high-demand areas and increasing the
availability of public housing and assistance.
It also proposes reducing
the 17 percent Value Added Tax rate for basic products and strengthening
government price supervision of essential foods.
On competition, it
promises a number of measures including increased state assistance to small to
medium sized enterprises, unemployment insurance for independent business owners
and more state expenditure for peripheral regions of the country – including the
establishment of nine new industrial zones and incentives to encourage
businesses to employ hi-tech engineers.
How will Labor finance this plan?
It has committed to meeting next year’s existing budget deficit target of 3%,
but says it reserves the right to increase the deficit in the event of a
recession. It is promising to increase revenues by raising income tax for all
earnings over NIS 50,000 per month, clamping down on “trapped profits” of large
corporations, collecting tax from profits on natural resources, introducing a
new 5% tax on estate inheritances of at least NIS 15 million, and reversing the
Netanyahu government’s cancellation of import duties.