Bank of Israel Governor Stanley Fischer has rejected a new attempt by Finance Minister Yair Lapid to increase the deficit target in 2013-2014 to 3.5% or the gross domestic product, or failing that, to 3.25% of GDP.
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The alternative of course is deep budget cuts.
Lapid’s renewed attempt to forge a compromise on the deficit limit were rejected out of hand by Fischer, who repeated earlier statements that he would object to any attempt to raise the target beyond 3% of GDP.
A senior official at the central bank had already told Lapid and other Finance Ministry officials that the 3% mark is the upper limit as far as the Bank of Israel is concerned. These remarks were made a week and a half after Lapid tried to raise the deficit limit to 4.25% of GDP.
Ahead of a new finalized budget in August, the current deficit is in the 4.5-5% range. So even with the approval of the 3% limit, the overall deficit for 2013 will work out to about 4% of GDP.
Fischer believes that the deficit target for 2014 should also remain at 3%.
The original deficit target set by the government for 2013 was 3%, with a limit of 2.75% set for 2014.