Cut welfare, encourage core curriculum and work
Jan 24, 2013 (Globes - McClatchy-Tribune Information Services via COMTEX) --
The economic platform of Yair Lapid's Yesh Atid was drawn up by the party's founders, Knesset candidates, and headquarters staff. The platform calls for economic responsibility, cutting the defense budget, the settlements' budgets, and welfare payments, and encouraging work and good governance.
The budget hole
Raising the deficit target further is irresponsible and will only deepen the already large budget hole. Welfare payments to yeshiva students who do not serve in the IDF should be cut, and there will be no choice but to reduce the children's allowance and the budgets channeled to the settlements located outside the large settlement blocs and which are not related to expenses caused by natural population growth.
The number of ministries should be reduced to 18, and the wasteful system of ministers without portfolios and deputy ministers serving in ministerial capacity should be abolished. Ministries should be reformed to streamline mechanisms and bureaucracy to achieve substantial savings in government spending.
Yesh Atid has presented a series of operative plans for changing Israel's reality but which do not breach the budget framework: increase participation in the labor force; encourage and assist small businesses to spur economic growth, and to overhaul the housing market.
Yesh Atid will seek to bring haredim (ultra-orthodox) into the labor market, which will boost GDP by 1.5 percent, adding NIS 15 billion to GDP. It will promote assistance for small businesses, which will boost GDP by 1 percent, adding NIS 10 billion to GDP. Yesh Atid will not lend a hand to additional tax hikes on the middle class.
The defense budget
Yesh Atid will cancel the NIS 3 billion budget supplement that the IDF requested and demand that defense spending return to the Brodet Committee guidelines.
The minimum wage
The minimum wage will updated pursuant to the Minimum Wage Law on April 1 of each year to 47.5 percent of the average national salary.
The right to strike
Yesh Atid will not limit the right to strike.
Yesh Atid believes that all 18-year old men and women should serve the country in either military or civilian capacity. Yesh Atid calls for equal service for everyone, and the IDF will determine who it needs in line with Israel's defense needs, and the men and women drafted will serve for 2-3 years. Combat soldiers who serve for three years will receive the minimum wage from the second year, and upon their discharge from the IDF will receive a grant for full studies for a BA.
The men and women whom the IDF decides not to draft will serve in National Service in communities to help the nursing, firefighting, Holocaust survivors, and education systems. Israel's National Service overhaul will encourage and compensate the military draft, and provide a civilian service solution for various sectors of the population, and will encourage the full integration of all communities in the labor force.
Salaries for critical professions in the periphery
Yesh Atid's medical and health plan includes encouraging doctors and nurses to reside in the periphery through salary supplements, assistance in finding work for their spouses, and allocating land for build-your-own-home projects for people who commit to residing in a place for more than five years. The plan also includes encouragement for medical students to work in towns in the periphery during their studies by providing housing and scholarships so they will continue to reside in the place after their studies.
Financing of schools
The core curriculum is a fundamental tool that the state promises to provide every person to enable him or her to build a productive and creative life and to provide a dignified livelihood. Yesh Atid's ten-year plan aims to restore Israel as one of the top ten countries in the world in education. We will act to implement a mandatory core curriculum, implement the Extended School Day Law, reduce class size, and provide a differential budget that is 26 percent higher for pupils in the geographical and social periphery in order to narrow social gaps.
VAT on food
Yesh Atid adopts the OECD report which calls for member states to abolish VAT differentials on food items.
Housing subsidies for young couples
Yesh Atid has presented a plan to overhaul housing based on the construction of 150,000 rental units in ten central Israeli cities over the next ten years. This project will be financed by institutions (using the Road 6 toll road model), and will be built on state-owned land at zero cost (the land will remain state-owned). Implementing the housing overhaul will provide long-term rental housing in central cities for young people and young couples for 35 percent less than the average rent on the market, will lower housing prices for sale in cities, and provide special prices and benefits for specific populations such as policemen, teachers, firemen, social workers and security personnel to enable them to live close to the locations where they serve. 5 percent of the rental apartments in this project will be allocated for public housing. This plan will lower housing prices by 20 percent.
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