Haifa's city council has unanimously decided to set up a committee to re-examine municipal tax rates for the city's businesses, reports Yediot Haifa. The decision is being hailed as a victory by owners of shops in the city's streets, who have long complained that they are unfairly being charged higher rates than stores in the city's malls. According to the report, the council's surprise unanimous decision follows a year of protests and increasingly desperate demonstrations by the city's store owners against the tax rates. The council decided that the committee, which will convene officially in August, will contain representatives of every political faction. Any recommendations made for changes will be too late to introduce this year, but traders were hopeful they would begin in 2009. "This is an important victory, although there is still a long road ahead of us," said the head of the city's business owners committee, Ze'ev Silim. "I am happy that we have succeeded in changing the minds of the mayor and of all those who thought the subject of municipal taxes would never be changed." Silim said business owners would keep a close watch on the committee's actions, and he was "optimistic" that changes would be made.