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February 8, 2016 / 29 Shevat, 5776

Posts Tagged ‘Moshe Kahlon’

‘Painful Cuts Ahead in Jerusalem’ Warns Mayor Barkat

Thursday, December 31st, 2015

A deaf ear from the Finance Ministry will force the city of Jerusalem to send home thousands of workers across the capital, Mayor Nir Barkat warned on Thursday. Services in at least three key departments are also likely to be compromised.

The Jerusalem municipality has already notified 170 city cleaning workers of impending layoffs after a request for additional funding was denied by the Finance Ministry.

Some 2,000 more workers across the city are also to be laid off and the city’s cultural institutions, social services and education infrastructure will be affected as well.

“It’s an intolerable decision but unfortunately we have no choice,” Barkat said in a statement Thursday.

“The refusal of the Finance Ministry to transfer funds to Jerusalem does not allow the city to continue to provide these services. We are forced to take this most difficult step and lay off the workers we need.

“Making cutbacks on municipal requests affects social services, education and culture and it means the layoff of thousands of workers in the city,” Barkat warned.

“We were expected that in a period of terrorism there would be wider support, rather than be shown a cold shoulder,” he said.

“Without the transfer of government support to Jerusalem, there will be no escaping more painful cuts that will further compromise the standing of Israel’s capital city, and will hurt each and every resident.”

Finance Minister Raises Number of Customs-Free Items

Wednesday, December 23rd, 2015

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon has signed an order to exempt more food products and production items from customs fees upon their arrival in Israel.

In addition, existing exemptions have been extended, new exemptions have been added, and the “customs-free” imports quota has been expanded.

The moves are designed to ease future costs for Israeli business owners and increase their ability to compete in the international marketplace.

The Finance Ministry is beefing up efforts to maintain a healthy economy despite Israel’s somewhat sluggish growth rate earlier in the year.

Netanyahu, Kahlon Cut Taxes to Spur Sluggish Economy

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon announced Thursday they will cut the sales tax (VAT) by one percent and do the same with the corporate tax.

Beginning October 1, the VAT will drop from 18 percent to 17 percent.

The corporate tax will drop from 26.5 percent to 25 percent, starting in January 2016.

It is estimated that the two benefits to consumers will cost the state approximately NIS 6.5 billion ($1.6 billion).

Bank of Israel Governor Karnit Flug, who is not in favor of the plan, immediately announced her criticism of the move.

But in a joint news conference Thursday afternoon, Netanyahu and Kahlon told reporters the move was designed to act as a “growth engine” on an economy that is slowing down.

“We believe in you, we believe in the free market, we believe in freedom,” the prime minister said. “I think this will help growth. I think this will give the economy the boost it needs. At a time when we are hearing about global slowdown, and here too, we want a growth engine and lowering taxes is one of them.”

Knesset Approves Budget in 1st Voting Round as Shas Threatens to Pull Support

Thursday, September 3rd, 2015

(JNi.media) On Wednesday night, at the end of a seven-hour debate, a majority of 57 coalition MKs supported the Netanyahu government budget proposal, versus 53 opposition votes, with Minister of the Economy Aryeh Deri absent from the session during a vote so closely related to his office. Deri threatened that should the issue of zero VAT on essential products not be resolved by the following voting round, his party, Shas, would oppose the budget.

The Knesset’s first voting round approved the Budget bill for the years 2015-2016. Immediately thereafter, the Knesset passed the Economic Arrangements bill in a first vote, with Economy Minister Deri absent from that vote as well.

Immediately thereafter, the Knesset passed the Economic Arrangements Law first reading with the same. This vote also absent Economy Minister Deri.

The Economic Arrangements Law includes all the necessary changes in legislation needed to implement the measures the government wants to enact as part of the state budget. A new economic arrangements act has been presented annually to the Knesset since 1985, adjacent to the state budget proposal. The law is a set of proposed changes in many areas, each of which requires special legislation. Instead of drafting a bill on every individual subject, the government packs all those provisions in a single bill.

The state budget for 2015 will reach $84 billion, and $89 billion in 2016. The deficit target in 2016-2015 would be 2.9% of GDP. For comparison, Israel’s next door neighbor, Jordan, with roughly the same size population — about 8 million — has an annual budget of $10.5 billion.

A senior Shas official explained that Shas MKs approached Minister Aryeh Deri Wednesday night and expressed anger that the issue of the zero VAT on essential products has not been finalized with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon, despite having been agreed on at the cabinet budget meeting. At a consequent meeting with his faction members, Deri ordered them to vote for the budget in the first round, but threatened that if the zero VAT legislation would not come through, the Shas faction would not support the budget.

Deri, who was absent from the vote, struck an offset deal with an opposition member who committed to also abstain. Altogether, the MKs did not permit the fact that not all coalition members were on hand at the vote to be turned into a consequent vote of no confidence, since such an attempt would have ended in little more than theatrics. On Wednesday night, MKs were more interested in addressing real issues.

Israel Beiteinu Chairman Avigdor Lieberman slammed the budget proposal, calling it “Isra-bluff.” Lieberman asked, “How can we approve a budget without knowing the size of the defense budget, which counts for its largest part? How can we approve a budget when we’re told about 4%, across the board cuts?”

According to Lieberman, the problem is that the Prime Minister doesn’t know how to make decisions, only how to babble and chat.

Finance Minister Kahlon said the proposed budget is one of the best Israel has had in recent years. “The budget brings good news on the cost of living,” said Kahlon, adding that the greatest threat to the country’s stability are the social gaps: “This is a national task and this Government is working bring the periphery closer and promote competition,” he said.

“I became Minister of Finance in awe,” Kahlon told the Knesset. “What I’m trying to pass is an Israel in which there is equality, there is compassion, there is a mutual responsibility and there are social values. There are weak and poor among us, converts, widows and orphans. We mustn’t be cynical about this.”

Cabinet Passes 2015-2016 Budget, DM Ya’alon Abstains

Thursday, August 6th, 2015

The Cabinet passed the 2015-2016 budget early Thursday morning after a long day of wrangling and debating.

Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon was the only holdout, abstaining due to Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu’s support for recommendations by Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon to set the defense budget at NIS 55.3 billion for 2016. Kahlon conditioned on raising the budget to NIS 59 billion on the adoption of the recommendations of the Locker Committee.

The Locker Commission, headed by Maj.-Gen. (res) Yochanan Locker last year issued a 77-page report calling for massive across-the-board cuts to the IDF budget. Included were 53 recommendations on budget savings and “efficiency reforms” totaling NIS 9.6 billion annually between 2016 and 2020 that Locker said could be “reinvested” as new funds by the IDF.

Among the recommendations were cuts to pensions for IDF non-combat officers, capping the defense budget at NIS 59 billion, limiting mandatory service for men to two years and 11 percent cuts in personnel.

The IDF viewed the recommendations as short-sighted, pointing out the new challenges facing the military such as the need for advanced development of cyber defense, Iron Dome anti-missile training and technology and similar cutting-edge financial needs. At the time, Ya’alon also said the commission’s recommendations were incompatible with the threats facing Israel which have not decreased but rather, have only changed.

Additions to Israel’s present budget were made throughout the day on Wednesday to individual budgets in ministries where coalition promises had been made.

The ministers had already been warned ahead of time by Netanyahu that the government would collapse if they did not stop their demands and get behind the budget.

From the outset, on Tuesday, Netanyahu said bluntly, “The State of Israel will have a budget because otherwise it will not have a government and our economic and security situation will deteriorate. Demands always exceed what there is but in the end, the right decisions are made. We will do so this time as well.”

An extra NIS 8 billion ($2.1 billion) had already been pulled together for the NIS 414 two-year budget, but ministers clamored for more spending on education, defense and police. In addition, there was an outcry over value added tax (sales tax) which social activists want eliminated on basic goods.

An addition of NIS 1.7 billion was made, for example, to the budget of Public Security Minister Gilad Erdan over the next two years.

Cutbacks were cancelled in the budget of Sport and Culture Minister Miri Regev, and an additional NIS 50 million was found to sweeten the deal.

Education Minister Naftali Bennett received NIS 290 million for his budget as well, to ease the cutbacks to his ministry’s coffers.

“We have to continue the economic growth and that is why taxes will not increase,” Netanyahu said when introducing the budget on Wednesday. “When the money gets to the citizens, they will make better use of it than the bureaucrats will.

“There are reforms here that reduce the cost of living for citizens. It’s important to reduce the price of food, transportation and health, and to increase the supply of housing,” he said.

After having passed the Cabinet, the budget will go to the Knesset plenum for a vote on August 31. Final passage of the budget must be completed in the Knesset by November 19.

Netanyahu: New Budget Puts More Money in Israeli Pockets

Wednesday, August 5th, 2015

“Israeli citizens need to have more money in their pockets, and put out less money for services they receive from the government,” Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said today at a meeting of the full cabinet held to review the budget he submitted together with Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon.

“This is the essence of the budget we have submitted today to the government,” Netanyahu said.

“This budget is balanced, responsible and aimed at continuing the economic growth in the State of Israel. We are working so that every family in Israel will save hundreds of shekels every month. We are not only talking about it – we are doing it,” he emphasized.

“The budget includes reforms that reduce the expense of daily living for Israeli citizens,” he went on to explain. “I want every Israeli citizen to put out less money for services that he receives from the state, or that the state controls on their behalf.

“For instance, in the food sector, there is not enough competition and therefore the prices here are very high. Therefore, we are going to make some changes here the likes of which have not been seen in years.

“I have been working on them for years, and I am glad to have the cooperation of the Economy Minister and the Finance Minister in carrying out these very important, far-reaching changes — to lower the price of food, transportation, and health [care],” he said.

No Increase in Taxes
We are interested in continued economic growth. This is what makes the Israeli economy unique, at least the economies that I have overseen; this is also what guides us today. We must continue growth. Therefore, the level of taxation will remain low, or at least it will not increase, because we know that the money goes to the people, into their pockets and they will make much better use of it than government officials. Thus I have a very clear view, different than that of many, but it is a correct view and it advances economic growth in the State of Israel – a budget for growth.

Increasing Housing Units
“A very great effort that has been made in this budget and in the Arrangements Law is the effort to increase the supply of apartments. The Finance Minister has been leading this, with my complete backing, and the Cabinet will give its complete backing to this important endeavor because this, in the end, can change the trend in housing prices.

‘Security Ensures We Will Have Other Needs’
“I would like to say something about security. This budget must, in the end, strike a balance between the country’s security needs and all of its other needs. I put it this way – all of the country’s other needs versus security – because security ensures that we will have other needs. Without security there is nothing. We know that this is always a hard balance. This is an important dilemma. It has become more important due to the many great and changing security challenges facing the State of Israel; naturally, this also requires an appropriate security budget.

“I received two proposals on how to deal with the size and composition of the budget. In recent weeks we have been studying these two proposals. Of course, we will learn lessons from both. We will also combine them and then link between them regarding the changes that we want to make in the security budget, including its increase beyond what is being proposed here. I say in advance. I want all ministers to be familiar with the process that we are going to undertake. We need to provide security alongside meeting the other needs in the State of Israel.

Targeting Growth of 4 Percent
“What we will do here today is a continuation of the balanced and successful policy that we have led in recent years. The State of Israel has not fallen into the holes that other economies have fallen into, including Western economies both nearby and far away; we have continued growth. Our obligation is to try and bring about growth of approximately four percent. When growth is around four percent and not 3.5 percent, we will be on a very, very healthy track for the State of Israel.

“This will also be done by other means – opening major markets in Asia, Latin America and other places; and moving forward with new products, especially cyber – but it will also be done by the things that we will decide on today. Our goal is to reach four percent growth, if not this year then certainly next year. Less than this will not suffice and we need to do our utmost in order to achieve this with low taxation. This is the essence of what we want to do with this budget.”

Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon appeared to be in full agreement with the prime minister. Smiling, he presented his view of the budget, which he confirmed was “responsible, and balanced.”

Kahlon added, The [Finance Ministry] Budget Division has been working with the ministries for months in order to reach agreement.

Increase in Civil Expenditure
“There is a very significant increase here in civil expenditures. There is very nice expansion here in education from 14-16, approximately NIS 4 billion. There is very nice expansion here in health. There is expansion here in public security. There is major, good and necessary expansion on all other civil matters. As the Prime Minister said, there are benefits that make things easier for people vis-à-vis the cost of living, housing supply, growth, investments, the periphery; we are dealing with all these areas, including infrastructures and bringing the periphery closer to the center, which will generate significant growth.

Reforms ‘Will Require Courage’
“There are major reforms here the likes of which have not been seen for years, reforms that need a lot of courage and your support, Mr. Prime Minister and my fellow ministers, in order to implement them. It is not for nothing that they have not been done for very many years. We have very significant reforms in the financial market that people did not want to deal with – but we are dealing with it. The financial market is a monopolistic market that requires reforms and changes. There has been major pressure on us not to enact them, but we will enact them and in many other areas as well – the cost of living, food; we mean to do it.

“A word about security. Security is dear to us. The IDF is dear to us. We will help and support lest there be the impression – Heaven forbid! – that security is a side issue. Security is in the center. There must be balances between society’s needs and those of security and I am certain that together with the Defense Minister and the Prime Minister, and the other ministers, we will reach a solution. There must not be the impression – Heaven forbid! – that security is a side issue; security is in the center.”

FM Moshe Kahlon to Present ‘Cornflakes Reform’ Budget

Tuesday, August 4th, 2015

Israeli Finance Minister Moshe Kahlon made final preparations Tuesday in the Socio-Economic Cabinet to tie up loose ends in the budget for presentation to the full Cabinet on Wednesday (Aug. 5).

Kahlon said, “We are presenting genuinely significant reforms…in the banks and financial sector – the cost of living, food, removing impediments and lifting import quotas that have made things very difficult for consumers in the State of Israel.

“I have no doubt that we will receive the support of the ministers because – I reiterate what the Prime Minister said (at the start of the cabinet meeting) – this is a social and responsible, responsible and social, budget that truly puts people – the citizens of the state – in the center, alongside responsibility for economic growth, job creation, reduction of gaps, bringing the periphery closer to the center, infrastructures, housing and – of course – education.”

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu commented at the start of the cabinet meeting that as a prime minister and finance minister, he had “passed over a dozen budgets” in his tenure, and always sees the same situation: “everyone has demands. Demands always exceed what there is,” he said, “but in the end the right decisions are made. “We will do so this time as well,” he added.

“The State of Israel will have a budget because otherwise it will not have a government and our economic and security situation would deteriorate. I trust the collective responsibility of our ministers. We will pass the budget in the full Cabinet tomorrow,” he said firmly.

“The ‘cornflakes reform’ that we are leading here at the Prime Minister’s Office, will affect many food products on the market,” Netanyahu went on to say.

“We are also enacting changes in what is referred to as ‘housing supply’ to further increase the number of apartments in the State of Israel.

“In the end this is the only way to lower prices. We are doing things to lower the cost of health services in the State of Israel such as supplementary insurance and private insurance.

“This will affect very many families regarding hundreds of shekels, which is not a small thing.

“We are also taking steps to advance the natural gas economy. First of all, we are linking factories to gas; what point is there to having gas if it cannot be utilized? With a side reference to the difficult financial situation faced by nearby Greece, Netanyahu commented, “I think that Israel has seen fit to navigate its economic path with the policy we have led over many years and it did not fall into the pits into which other countries have fallen, some not far away from us.

“We must continue not only to avoid these pitfalls but to scale the heights. The budget, and what we are doing here today, are designed to achieve these goals – continued growth and the continued lowering of prices.”

Printed from: http://www.jewishpress.com/news/breaking-news/fm-moshe-kahlon-to-present-cornflakes-reform-budget/2015/08/04/

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