Protest leaders want gov't regulation of rent, tax policy

Eight-page document calls for the government to exercise legislative control over housing prices in Israel.

August 26, 2011 05:32
1 minute read.
Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg

Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg. (photo credit: Mark Neiman / GPO)

Amid criticism that tent-city protest leaders have not formulated demands for the government to solve the social issues facing the country, a document produced by the leadership shows a series of demands dealing with housing and taxes.

The eight-page document, which was first published in Haaretz on Thursday, calls for the government to exercise legislative control over housing prices in Israel, and to use tax penalties against home owners who charge higher rent than the legislated limits.

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It also calls for a freeze on government privatization programs and the cancellation of the National Housing Committees law, passed on the last day of the Knesset plenum in July, according to Haaretz.

Also in regard to housing, the document calls for attainable housing legislation, and for the freeze on public-housing construction to be lifted. Additionally, it calls for increased taxes on residential-property owners who live outside the country, and property owners whose apartments are left empty, Haaretz reported.

The document also calls for the creation of an income-tax bracket of 60 percent on those who make over one million shekels per year, as well raising corporate taxes by 4%. It also calls for a 3% reduction in the VAT.

Additionally, the document demands cuts in the taxes on gasoline and for the inaction of a progressive-estate tax and gift tax.

According to Haaretz, the document has been ready for weeks, but those who compiled it refused to publish it, preferring to wait until dialogue with the government began. In the meantime, a copy was leaked to the newspaper this week.

The students’ union said it had nothing to do with the preparation of the document.

On Wednesday, members of the tent city protest leadership in Tel Aviv held a press conference in which they called on Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg – the head of a committee appointed by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to find solutions to the social issues facing the country – to resign from the committee.

They also called for the Knesset to handle the matter, saying that they have no confidence in the committee.

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