Netanyahu plans to quickly implement recommendations of social reform panel
Politicians race to approve measures to change the government's social and financial priorities, in order to relieve part of the financial burden on the middle class and lower the cost of living.
Politicians are racing to start implementing the Trajtenberg Committee's recommendations to ease the burden on the middle class.
The cabinet is scheduled to hold its first real discussion of the recommendations tomorrow, and Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is expected to call on his ministers to approve them in full, as soon as tomorrow.
The committee headed by Prof. Manuel Trajtenberg was tasked with drafting recommendations to change the government's social and financial priorities, in order to relieve part of the financial burden on the middle class and lower the cost of living. It submitted its recommendations last week.
Netanyahu's decision to have the cabinet discuss the recommendations only a week after they were issued, and to bring them straight to the full cabinet - instead of the social-economic cabinet as was originally planned - indicates his satisfaction with the report and his determination to implement it.
Netanyahu had met with Trajtenberg before the Rosh Hashanah holiday and told him he intended to shorten the approval process.
The committee had called for its recommendations to be passed into law by the Knesset before the end of the year, so they could go into effect by the beginning of 2012. This involves adjusting the 2012 budget.
Meanwhile, Knesset Finance Committee chairman Moshe Gafni is planning to have his committee start discussing some of Trajtenberg's recommendations on Tuesday. Among the measures Gafni wants to push through his committee include the recommendations to lower the tax burden on the middle class.
However, Gafni also has his own list of plans designed to reduce the cost of living, including subsidized mortgages for young couples buying their first homes, a return to government construction of homes for young couples, bringing the price of water back under government price control, reducing electricity prices, and reducing retailers' markups on food products.
All these steps go beyond what the Trajtenberg panel recommended.
At Tuesday's meeting, Gafni intends to call on the committee to pass a bill that would freeze the excise tax increase on gasoline scheduled for 2012, freeze the planned cuts to corporate tax rates, and continue forward with the plan to cut income taxes for the middle class. The Trajtenberg Committee had called for canceling this last cut.
"I don't intend to wait until the end of the year to address these tax issues," Gafni told TheMarker.