Budget on Hold While New Government Forms

YERUSHALAYIM -

The 2013 budget, which was largely the cause of early elections because the incumbent Cabinet would not support a raft of austerity measures, may now be delayed to give the new government time to draft its budget.

The Finance and Justice Ministries are lobbying for an amendment that could give the new government 120 days to present its budget for approval, Haaretz reported on Sunday.

Currently, the law requires that the government pass the budget in the Knesset within 45 days. The amendment would mean that budget approval might not happen until the end of July.

Over the weekend, Finance Ministry officials said the amendment was needed because the Knesset will begin a month-long Pesach recess in another week.

Meanwhile, the next finance minister will have to acquaint himself with the new budget and the ministry for which he will have responsibility. Neither Yesh Atid leader Yair Lapid nor Jewish Home leader Naftali Bennett have ever held an executive position in government.

Finance officials said it would also take time to amend the budget draft that the ministry has almost completed to reflect the new government’s coalition agreement. The Finance and Justice ministries sent the proposed amendment to the other ministries late Thursday night.

Meanwhile, each ministry continues operations each month using a budget based on a fractional share of one-twelfth of the 2012 budget.