Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu is not expected to have a problem getting cabinet approval for his plan to raise taxes and cut the budgets of government ministries, despite a public outcry over the proposals on Wednesday.
The cabinet will convene to vote on the plan on Monday instead of Sunday due to the observance of the Tisha Be’av fast. Shas fiercely criticized the plan, but its leaders admitted that they had no chance of blocking it, because 15 of the 29 ministers are from Likud and not one Likud minister has announced opposition to it.
07/26/2012 01:50–Shas leader and Interior Minister Eli Yishai came out against Netanyahu’s planned increase to the value-added tax, saying the regressive tax hurt weak sectors of society.
“I think we need a progressive tax, so the rich pay more and the poor pay less,” Yishai said in an interview with Army Radio. “It can’t be that a middle-class person pays exactly what a rich person pays.”
Items like luxury cars, jewelry, restaurants and hotel rooms, which the rich are more likely to purchase, should be taxed at a higher rate than water, electricity, bread and life-saving medicine, he said.
Proposed budget cuts, the minister continued, involve the same problem, hitting the weakest sectors of society by taking away vital support and services. The funds are not coming off ministers’ salaries, he noted.
Foreign Minister Avigdor Liberman (Yisrael Beytenu) also criticized Netanyahu’s initiative. He expressed frustration that he had not been consulted about the move prior to Tuesday’s announcement, but said he was waiting to see the final proposal before instructing his ministers how to vote…Read More>>