On May 7th 2013, the Ministry of Finance submitted the proposed State Budget and Arrangements Law for 2013-2014 to the Secretary of Government. As part of the Ministry's proposal, housewives will be forced to pay national insurance and health insurance regardless of the fact that they are without formal employment; several taxes were increased including income tax by 1.5% and the value added tax by 1% to reach 18%; Child allowances have been decreased by 70 NIS to reach 140 NIS per child, per month, and in a further strike on child welfare, the state will cease to subsidize after-school care for children over nine years old. Infrastructure projects will be deferred and the planned increase in the education budget will instead be reduced, whilst taxes on new housing will increase.
This budget proposal disproportionately burdens the Arab minority, 50% of whom are currently living under the poverty line, whilst also affecting the economic development of the Arab community. Six governmental decisions proposing to partially support the economic development of Arab community over a period of six years will now be reduced, despite the fact that the initial decisions did not invest in the Arab community in a meaningful enough way. Regardless, if the budget proposal is adopted, large cuts will be made in development allocations, while the government continues to claim that it is aiming to benefit the Palestinian Arab community.
The Mossawa Center demands that changes be made to these plans. Instead of putting the weight of the economic deficit on the communities with lower socio-economic status, it is recommended that tax raises such as those mentioned above, be allocated only in the spectrum of large businesses and not the working class citizen.
For over 10 years, the Mossawa Center has been advocating for improved governmental budget allocations for the Arab minority in order to improve and support the economic development potential of this community, in turn, supporting the improvement of the overall economic situation of the State.
Advocate Sameh Iraqi from the Mossawa Center's Government Relations department reacted to this budget proposal claiming, "All the budgetary cuts referred to, are steps that will endanger the lower class of which the majority of the Arab minority in Israel is the largest group, and as a result, they will be negatively affected more than any other community."
In the following days, the Mossawa Center will be taking additional steps in activating the Arab Jewish Coalition for a Fair Budget in advocacy for improved budget allocation for the Arab minority, placing of the needs and demands of the Arab minority on the Knesset's table