Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon (Kulanu) proposes a series of budget cuts for 2019, including another postponement of the implementation of the long school day law, a 30% reduction of overtime for civil servants, and closing down 22 Israeli missions abroad – these are some of the cuts in the copy of budget allocations that was distributed to government ministries ahead of the debate and vote on the budget on Thursday, as revealed by Israel’s Kan News.
The Finance Ministry also proposes postponing for three years the implementation of the law that requires public buildings to be accessible to the. The reason: the current deadline, November 2018, “is not feasible.”
The Finance Ministry also wants to sever the political ties between the national lottery and local authorities, but the new budget also reduces the amount of winnings that aren’t taxed, from $14,500 to $3,000. Ouch.
There will be a 30% cut – $1.45 million – in the budget for national ceremonies.
Here’s another a politically explosive cut: the state subsidizes employment in peripheral communities, based on a map that was drawn with the interests of coalition partners in mind. Now Minister Kahlon wants to redraw the map and cut $3.6 12.5 million in employment subsidies in 2019.
The 2019 budget also contains consolidation of government ministries, with the aim of eliminating 12 ministries by 2020. Of course, the task of telling coalition partners there’s so much less to hand out to their people in jobs and patronage would go to the next prime minister – so that one is not happening.
The Finance Ministry also proposes to close 22 representative offices abroad over the next three years, with savings of $51 million. The ministry does not explain why these missions should be closed – other than not having them would save a lot of money.
Similarly, the 2019 budget cuts 140 positions abroad, some from the Foreign Ministry, but also emissaries of the ministries of the Economy, Absorption, Tourism, and Defense. The expected savings: $11.6 million.
Last but not least: the 2019 budget proposal also includes a cut of $29 million in the absorption budget for new olim, so that financial and other assistance will be allocated only to olim who can prove poverty. Because that’s what Israel wants to encourage: more indigent olim.