Haifa, company battle over NIS 20m. payment

The city of Haifa and the municipal Economic Company (Hevra Kalkalit) are currently fighting a tug of war over NIS 20 million that the company is refusing to pay the city, reports www.mynet.co.il. The company says that if it transfers the money to the city, it will have to pay a dividend tax of 25 percent, or NIS 5 million, to the government, and it should keep the cash, but the city says the company is trying to make "easy money." According to the report, the company has a budget of hundreds of millions of shekels and is responsible for some of the biggest projects in Haifa, including the life sciences park currently being built in the city and the international stadium being planned for the south of the city. It is also jointly responsible, together with the Gav Yam company, for the existing Matam high-tech industrial park, and it is this venture that is at the heart of the current dispute. The report said that Matam had made hundreds of millions of shekels over the years, and that as a result both the Economic Development Company and the Gav Yam company each received NIS 20 million in dividends recently. The report said the company wants to leave the money in its own coffers and invest in other projects, but the city is demanding the money as its rightful due. "The Economic Company is looking for easy money," a city treasury official said. "The Matam company and the Economic Company have accumulated hundreds of millions of shekels and I suggest that they use these moneys. If paying taxes to the state and transferring moneys to the city are a waste of money in their eyes, then there is a problem."