Globes news: Real-estate, gas tax revenues up in 1Q

Gov’t plans Tel Aviv congestion charge; Positive findings in Leviathan oil strata.

(photo credit: SHIKUN & BINUI REAL ESTATE)
Real-estate, gas tax revenues up in 1Q By ADRIAN FILUT and YOSSI NISSAN
Fuel excise revenues rose 11 percent to NIS 3.9 billion in the first quarter of 2011, from NIS 3.5b. in the corresponding quarter of 2010, the Finance Ministry reported Sunday. Real-estate taxes rose 32% to NIS 1.9b. in the first quarter, from NIS 1.5b. in the first quarter last year.
Total tax revenues rose to NIS 55.8b. in the first quarter, up NIS 8b. from the preceding quarter and NIS 7.2b.
more than in the first quarter last year. Tax revenues exceeded the target for the quarter by NIS 1.7b. and amounted to 26.2% of the budget target for the year.
There was surplus of NIS 2b. in government spending in the first quarter, compared with a deficit of NIS 3.6b.
in the first quarter last year. The budget deficit amounted to an annualized NIS 24.6b., less than deficit target of 2.9% of GDP, or NIS 25.2b.
Tax revenues rose 12.5% to NIS 18.9b. in March, from NIS 16.8b. in March 2010. Direct taxes totaled NIS 8.5b., and indirect taxes totaled NIS 9.9b. The budget deficit on the government’s domestic and foreign activities was NIS 900 million in March, and the deficit on financing activities was NIS 500m., including net credit.
Gov’t plans Tel Aviv congestion charge Globes correspondent
The Finance Ministry and the Transportation Ministry are planning to levy a congestion charge on drivers entering Tel Aviv, according to a tender published on the website of Ayalon Highways Ltd., which operates Road 20, the Ayalon Highway in Tel Aviv. The plan proposes a charge of between NIS 0.10 and NIS 1 per kilometer of travel inside the city, based on traffic congestion.
The ministries are planning a pilot program with 1,200 drivers and Ayalon Highways in a few months. The proposal is part of the government’s plan to reform vehicle taxes to gradually reduce the purchase tax on new vehicles and raise fees.
Under the congestion charge pilot, participating cars will have GPS transponders installed, which will measure several factors, such as travel time, location and distance, to determine the amount of the congestion charge.
A motor vehicle that does not travel during rush hour and whose congestion charge does not exceed NIS 100, will receive a NIS 250 credit. The owner of participating vehicles will receive NIS 500 for participating in the pilot.
This fee will not be paid to a driver who disconnects the system. The deadline to participate in the pilot program is this Tuesday.
Positive findings in Leviathan oil strata Globes correspondent
Noble Energy Inc. has made positive findings in the second target strata at Leviathan, belying media reports that no oil had yet been found, people familiar with the matter told Globes Sunday. However, the signs are not yet unequivocal, a source said. The 3-D seismic survey of the Leviathan structure indicates that the second target strata (the first strata that may contain oil), at a depth of 5,800 meters, may have three billion barrels of oil with a 17 percent chance of geological success.
Previous reports that there were no signs of oil were speculation based on ignorance, a person familiar with the Leviathan 1 exploratory well said. “The target strata at any well anywhere in the world are a depth target, not an absolute target, so the reports claiming that the well reached the strata at a certain depth is groundless,” the source said. He called the reports “irresponsible.”
Although drilling was halted because of a technical breakdown, it would resume and continue to greater depths to fully realize the potential of oil in strata as deep as 8,000 meters, he said.