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Defense Got NIS 12.7b Extra in 2009

The defense establishment received NIS 12.7 billion beyond its original budget allocation for 2009, according to the government's 2009 financial statements, which were released yesterday.

In general, the numbers show that the state is in good state, despite the financial crisis - total income was NIS 339.8 billion, only slightly lower than expected, and only 92% of the total budget was used after additions were made (and 97%, pre-additions).

Originally, the defense establishment had been budgeted NIS 48.4 billion - a full 15% of the national budget - but by the end of the year its budget was NIS 61.1 billion. Of that final amount the defense establishment spent NIS 56.7 billion - a record. While it didn't spend the entire expanded allocation it did spent 117% of its original budget. The unspent money is being put toward the 2010 budget.

This seems to happen every year, by the way, which raises a few questions as to the meaning of cabinet resolutions when it comes to the national defense budget. Furthermore, only NIS 4 billion to NIS 5 billion of that additional NIS 12.7 billion are explained in the financial statements.

In general, the state was well-off - as said, it brought in NIS 339.8 million and spent NIS 331 million, 8% less than expected at the start of the year. The budget deficit was also lower than expected, at NIS 39.6 billion, or 5.2% of GDP. Predictions had run as high as NIS 62.9 billion.

Part of the reason the deficit was so small is that the government did not use its full budget. Generally, the government spends 98-99% of its post-addition budget, meaning more than 100% of its original budget.