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PM In Last Minute Bid to Pass Budget, and Save Government

Prime Minister Netanyahu met late Monday with the heads of opposition parties in an effort to push through the state budget
By David Lev
First Publish: 7/29/2013, 10:52 PM

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu
Flash 90

Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu met late Monday with the heads of opposition parties in an effort to push through approval of the state budget. The budget must pass by midnight Wednesday, the end of the Knesset summer session – and if it doesn't, new elections will have to be called.

While 48 hours would seem to be sufficient time to pass the remaining portions of the budget, the Knesset is likely to be busy debating several other important laws the government wants to pass, including the law to change the threshold of votes at which a party can enter the Knesset, and the law that will require a referendum on any deal that would surrender Israeli territory in an arrangement with the PA.

MKs from the opposition have filed some 4,700 reservations about the budget. Technically, MKs who have filed those reservations have the right to address the Knesset about each one of them, a process that would likely take weeks, unless the government is able to persuade Knesset speaker Yuli Edelstein to invoke rules that would greatly shorten the process.

Earlier, the section of the budget relating to taxes was approved by the Knesset. As a result, taxes will be going up for just about everyone in Israel; for those earning NIS 14,000 and less, taxes will rise by 1% next year, while those earning between NIS 14,000 and 20,000 will pay 1.4% more. Those earning more than NIS 20,000 will pay 2% more. Corporate taxes will be going up as well, by 1.5%. Other benefits and tax breaks will be reduced or eliminated.

Also approved was the “money changers” law, which will require money changers to report all transactions of NIS 50,000 or more for at least the next two years.