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The article increasing television tax (the "agra" ) has been split off from the Economic Arrangements Bill and will be debated as a stand-alone legislative proposal. The Knesset Economics Committee handed down its decision to that effect yesterday, which could impede reform at the Israel Broadcasting Authority because the extra tax was supposed to cover NIS 300 million in the cost of reforms.

But committee chairman Carmel Shama-Hacohen prevailed, arguing that the extra tax is tantamount to imposing a fine on the public, and the public deserves a thorough debate on the issue first. Shelly Yachimovich said she opposed the split and supported the increase in TV tax to save the IBA, though the public wouldn't like it. The tax is to rise 5% a year from the current annual rate of NIS 390.

The Economic Arrangements Bill accompanies the budget through the legislative process. It is a mélange of unrelated proposals with some economic connection.