Lapid at Finance C'tee meeting 370.
(photo credit: Knesset)
The Economic Arrangements Bill is ready to be brought to second and third
(final) votes next week, with the Knesset Finance Committee authorizing it on
Thursday night after more than 24 nonconsecutive hours of voting.
2013-14 state budget the bill is to accompany must be passed in its final
reading in the Knesset by the end of the month, or there will be an early
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu agreed to take up changes
made by the committee at Sunday’s cabinet meeting.
“Now the committee can
move on to approving the budget itself,” Finance Committee chairman Nissan
Slomiansky (Bayit Yehudi) said.
“We need to pass the budget. The
government cannot continue functioning without a budget for almost an entire
Among the changes to the recent, dramatic tax and spending
overhaul agreed to on Wednesday was a slight reduction of middle class tax rates
at the behest of the opposition.
The new text would reduce the tax
increase for those earning between NIS 14,000 and NIS 22,000 a month from 1.5
percent to 1.4%.
While Finance Minister Yair Lapid originally proposed an
across-the-board income tax increase of 1.5 percent, he and Slomianksy agreed to
a more progressive tariff on Wednesday, in which taxes for those making under
NIS 14,000 would increase 1%, and taxes for those making over NIS 22,000 would
The reduction in National Insurance Institute child
allotments for youngsters born before June 1, 2003, will be moderated
While the plan had been to reduce allotments for all
children to NIS 140 a month, the final bill settled on the first child receiving
NIS 140 instead of the NIS 175 currently in place, the second receiving NIS 140
instead of NIS 263, the third receiving NIS 172.2 instead of NIS 295, the fourth
receiving NIS 336 instead of NIS 459, and the fifth receiving NIS 354.2 instead
of NIS 389.
Among the other measures approved were an increase in the
corporate tax rate from 25% to 26.5% starting in 2014 and a cancellation of the
proposed tax on housewives.
The Finance Committee also removed employment
as a condition for discounts on property taxes, one of Lapid’s flagship
budgetary innovations, which faced fierce opposition from haredi
MKs unanimously agreed that the topic needs a deeper, longer
discussion than it would get as part of Economic Arrangements Bill
“We made history. We approved the Economic Arrangements Bill on
time, while making significant changes,” Slomiansky said.
Committee met for more than 11 hours Thursday, and its Wednesday afternoon
meeting lasted 14 hours, ending at 4 a.m. on Thursday, with the
opposition using time-wasting tactics in hopes of catching the coalition off
guard in votes.
For example, when the committee’s legal adviser announced
the Economic Arrangement Bill’s name, Meretz chairwoman Zehava Gal-On submitted
an objection, requesting that the bill be named “Laws that increase the burden
on the middle class and weaker sectors.”
When her suggestion was voted
down, she brought another name to a vote, “There is no future for the middle
class,” a pun on the name of Lapid’s party, Yesh Atid, which means “There is a
Opposition parties asked for and were given a 15-minute break to
discuss Gal- On’s proposal.
At several points, MKs were unable to contain
their laughter at the banter between lawmakers, and the overnight meeting was
held up yet again.
It took the committee nine hours to approve the bill’s
name and purpose alone.