Finance Ministry figures released Tuesday indicate that tax revenues grew in the first five months of 2017, compared to a year earlier. However, a bigger state budget this year means that the tax money collected is not going as far as it did in 2016.
The state collected NIS 126.4 billion between January and the end of May, according to initial estimates. That was 5.1 percent more than was collected during the same period in 2016. However, government expenses amounted to NIS 117.3 billion during the 2017 period, 10 percent more than in 2016. Spending on defense was up 20.4 percent this year, while spending on civilian needs rose 7 percent.
Based on those figures, the Ministry said that if current tax collection rates persist through the end of the year, the government will be NIS 3.2 billion in the hole. At the end of 2016, the government actually had a surplus of NIS 600 million, left over from the money collected in taxes. The government’s aim in 2017 is to collect NIS 36.6 billion in taxes, translating to 2.9 percent of Israel’s GDP.