Finance Ministry Reverts to One-Year Budget

YERUSHALAYIM -

Israel’s experiment with the two-year budget, introduced by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu and Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz to much praise in the last government, is now officially over.

Minister of Finance Yair Lapid announced Sunday that the next budget, for 2013, will be for one year. The decision was taken in coordination with Netanyahu, Globes reported.

The finance minister’s bureau issued a statement extolling the virtues of the one-year budget:

“Creating an annual economic work plan will make it possible to reduce the size of errors between forecasts of state tax revenues and domestic and global economic processes, and what happens in practice.

“It will also make it possible to locate and identify deficit mines in time and immediately create budget solutions and adjustments in the economic work plan for the financial year. The large differences between the biennial forecasts for state tax revenues and actual revenues led the economy to the huge overdraft with which we are now faced.”

In view of the timetable for approving the 2013 budget, Lapid decided to present a budget through to the end of 2014 (17 months), which the ministry said would make it possible to deal with the deficit and make structural changes to promote growth.

Meanwhile, hundreds of people demonstrated outside Lapid’s home in Tel Aviv to protest the coming austerity. They held up signs reading, “There Are Hungry Families,” “Against a Government of the Rich, Exploiting the Poor,” and “Immediate Budget for Public Housing.”

It was noted also on Sunday that Lapid is appointing Yael Andoran as director general of the Finance Ministry. Andoran was the head of Amitim Senior Pension Plans, which has over 160 billion shekels in assets under its management.

But perhaps more to the point, she worked in the budget department for ten years, including a stint as deputy director when Netanyahu was finance minister, also a time of extensive budget cuts.