'Treasury officials were left in the dark'

Accountant-general, wage director were reportedly not told of Bar-On's tax reduction announcement.

Ronnie Bar-On sad 88 224 (photo credit: Courtesy )
Ronnie Bar-On sad 88 224
(photo credit: Courtesy )
Top officials in the Finance Ministry were not notified beforehand of Finance Minister Roni Bar-On's decision to announce a plan to lower income taxes, Army Radio reported Sunday. Many of the ministry's officials were made aware of the decision to present the plan at a day's notice, while some were not updated at all. These included Accountant-General Shuki Oren, Wage Director Eli Cohen and Director of the Government Companies Authority Udi Nissan. Bar-On's plan would gradually lower income taxes for individuals and companies over a seven-year period starting next year, while ending tax exemptions for contributions to savings plans known as advanced-training funds (keren hishtalmut). The latter part has raised the ire of Histadrut chairman Ofer Eini, who has threatened a general strike if the minister does not retract the decision. Ministry officials were highly critical of the decision to launch the plan in the middle of a political crisis - and without consulting the Histadrut - and said it was doomed to fail. "You can't just wake up and enact a tax reduction, without examining the question of timing and likelihood [of success]," a ministry official told the radio station. The Finance Ministry said in an official response that the plan was the result of months of serious and complex deliberations. "The decision was made following administrative work [on the issue] and after consideration of its various aspects - out of a sense of responsibility for the economy," the statement said. Bloomberg and Jonny Hadi contributed to this report.