"Justice must not only be done, but seen to be done. This is why we decided that people who pay the surtax, also known as the rich man's tax, will not receive a child's allowance," said Minister of Finance Yair Lapid at the Institute for National Security Studies conference, last night. He proposes cancelling universal child allowance and switching to means testing.
Lapid called the proposed structural changes "a revolution which every Israeli will feel within two years, and which will fundamentally change the situation of the working person within three years." He proposes changing eligibility for housing subsidies by instituting means testing. This is a sensitive issue, which is currently before the High Court of Justice. At issue is changing the eligibility points to favor employees and IDF veterans over the number of years of marriage, which favor the haredim (ultra-orthodox).
Lapid also proposes to require teaching the core curriculum as a condition for receiving government support, a measure that will affect haredi education; reducing regulation and bureaucracy; aid for small businesses; increasing competition in the food industry; implementing the plan, drawn up by former Israel Tax Authority director general Doron Arbeli, to fight black capital; and the consolidation of municipal water companies, which he said would lower water tariffs by 4%.
Lapid said, "We all know that some of the things I mentioned here, maybe all of them, will mean war. To this I say, let there be war. We will win it. The time has come to wage such a war. I am a tolerant man, but I also know that what you don’t get going in your first 100 days may never happen."
Lapid mentioned several examples in which governments sold out the interests of the working person. On the basis of the examples, Lapid was hinting a rise in the average royalties paid to the state for natural resources that are neither or nor gas; slashing stipends to yeshiva students; reforms at the seaports, which he said were controlled by powerful cliques; and lower daycare costs for working mothers.
Lapid also implied that, belying previous declarations, he has no plans to touch the tax breaks for corporations under the Law for the Encouragement of Capital Investments. "If tomorrow, a large multinational were to come to build a plant like Intel's fab in Kiryat Gat, not only will we give it every possible break - and the populists are invited to scream now - I will go to Ben Gurion Airport to roll out a red carpet in their honor," he said.
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on April 24, 2013
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