Rivlin Wins: Economic Arrangements Bill to Split Off Big Reforms

The Economic Arrangements bill has been split, in a victory for Knesset speaker Reuven Rivlin, who argued that the hodgepodge collection of unrelated proposals, vaguely economic in nature, should not be passed as a single act.

About 40% of the articles in the proposal have been spun off and are no longer packaged with the original bill. Seen otherwise - out of 67 topics, 19 have disappeared from the Economic Arrangements bill entirely.

While another four articles are still there, Rivlin and the Finance Ministry came to an agreement yesterday that they will be split from the bill after it passes its first of three readings into law.

"This is a new era, in which the Economic Arrangements Law will function as a supplement to the budget, not the opposite," Rivlin commented. "If the government wants to add an important reform to the Economic Arrangements Law, it can - as long as a public debate is conducted."

Among the items split off from the bill are reforms that would necessitate broad public debate, such as proposals to rehabilitate public broadcasting, to augment the powers of the capital markets supervisor, and on governing inventions military in nature. Another proposal now gone deals with abolishing tax breaks for foreign sports stars in Israel.

Topics to be split from the Economic Arrangements bill after its first reading include strengthening structures to resist earthquakes, and increasing the supply of housing in order to lower home prices.