Minister of Finance Moshe Kahlon today spoke with Stella Korin-Lieber and "Globes" Deputy Editor Eli Tsipori at the "Globes" Israel Business Conference.
What about the public broadcasting corporation?
"I have not reached an agreement with the prime minister, we have no deal on this issue and I am not ready to break the budget framework. Can I live with a restored broadcasting authority? I can live with anything."
Kahlon also commented on the poverty report, "Since we came in, we allocated NIS 6 billion to the issue of poverty. Apparently, this is not enough, and we will invest more."
Home prices only keep rising
"We have a severe, large-scale, housing crisis, and I have not created it. I got it as it is. We went for the buyer fixed-price project, and any zoned plot is also marketed within 48 hours. We are there, but it takes time. We will supplement supply, will not stop building and eventually this will affect home prices."
"Everyone invested in real estate does not wish prices to drop, including the banks"
Kahlon said, "We have created two markets - for young couples and for second-time buyers. Now we need to take care of move-up buyers. They claim that I build slums? Bring any contractor - I provide better specifications and charge NIS 400,000 less."
The minister of finance added, "Everyone invested in real estate does not wish prices to drop, including banks, this is obvious. Can I say that they are fighting us? The answer is no. So who is fighting us? Developers who own plots… I do not accuse anyone. The price of land rises on its own, its value rises without them doing anything and they have gotten used to it. Once the buyer fixed-price program is realized, it will affect the market. Otherwise, I will return to first grade."
We will build and build until there are more homes than people
Kahlon reminisced on his days as a reformist Minister of Communications, "In the cellular market, they came and told me that five companies are not necessary. How do we know? Once the fifth company collapses. In the home crisis, we will build and build until there are more homes than people.
"As for the tax on three or more homes the minister of finance said, "The goal of this law is to release homes onto the market. The people who have bought three apartments or more are not bad people, but sometimes one group does something that hurts another group. This is fine. The reality is that the country needs homes."
"I put myself at a political risk"
The minister of finance clarified, "I put myself at a political risk, because owners of three or more apartments have the most power. I am going to pay a political price for this, but I am doing this for the young couples."
As for claims that imposing a tax on the third apartment will affect tenants, Kahlon said, "There is no reason for this to happen." He claimed that if it turns out, in one year, that rent prices have gone up, then "this is a test, you do tests. If after a year I find out that I was wrong, I will make changes. Nothing terrible happened. I am not afraid of admitting mistakes."
As for claims that he is a particularly generous minister of finance, Kahlon said, "Life is made up of priorities. Government ministries have undergone an extensive streamlining, we have made extensive cuts in ministries. This is also the correct utilization of funds and growth."
As for unfunded pensions, Kahlon said, "I have become even more social-minded than Nissenkorn. We have handled high pensions and high wages this is not easy, not simple, it is a process. I am not against the public sector; I want more teachers and more public medicine. I am not concerned about strengthening the public sector; I also want more social workers."
As for the political situation, "Political life is fraught with tension, aggressiveness and passions. Am I ready to run for elections? It depends on what I run for."
Published by Globes [online], Israel business news - www.globes-online.com - on December 12, 2016
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