The Knesset Finance Committee Wednesday approved increasing value-added tax by 1% to 17% as of September 1, despite harsh criticism from MKs from both the opposition and the coalition. But the coalition enlisted all its forces and the committee passed the tax hike with 11 MKs voting in favor and six against. Now the full Knesset will have to approve the increase, with the vote scheduled for next Monday.
Among those supporting the hike was committee chairman Moshe Gafni (United Torah Judaism ). Gafni torpedoed hiking VAT as of Wednesday, August 1, when he delayed the committee meeting on the matter, in response to Steinitz not having consulted with him and the committee sufficiently in advance of the hike - and the other economic steps the cabinet agreed to. By law, the Finance Committee must be consulted before such a hike, and the Knesset plenum must approve it.
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