JERUSALEM (Mar. 5)
The Israel Government presented its 1952 national budget to Parliament last night. It calls for 168,450,000 pounds, as compared with 113,587,000 allocated last year.
Parliament, meanwhile, set aside 20 hours for debate on the budget. The debate will be held during the latter part of this month. Meanwhile, representatives of the General Zionist and Mapam Parties have indicated that they will oppose the budget because it places an “almost unbearable” burden on the Israeli people.
Although the budget appears to call for an increase of 48 percent over last year, it was pointed out that the actual increase is only 13 percent–which is about the same increase as is shown in the population figures for the past two years. This year a security budget of 34,100,000 pounds is included in the regular budget, in addition to the Ministry of Defense’s regular appropriation of 45,000,000 pounds. Last year the security budget was kept secret and financed apart from other government expenditures.
The new budget also provides for a luxury and sales tax to provide additional revenue. No provision has been made in this document for the cost of absorbing new immigrants; this will be the subject of another allocation. It was explained in government circles that the budget reflects the government’s determination to pass the costs of government on to the Israeli people, rather than depending on foreign loans. This is seen as an anti-inflationary attempt to siphon off excess money in circulation in this country.
The government expects to collect some 47,000,000 pounds from income taxes, 22,000,000 pounds from luxury tax, 13,000,000 pounds from tobacco levies and 11,000,000 pounds from fuel imposts. The largest appropriation asked for any department was the Defense Ministry’s 45,000,000 pounds. Eleven and-a-half million pounds are requested for education and cultural activities, 8,000,000 pounds for the Health Ministry, 5,000,000 pounds for the Labor Ministry, while the Welfare Ministry will receive 4,000,000 pounds.
The repayment of principal and interest payments on loans will come to 6,000,000 pounds, while the government plans to spend 2,500,000 pounds on food subsidies.