The 2013 budget will be for one year only, after biannual budgets have been passed twice, Finance Minister Yuval Steinitz announced Sunday.
The proposal for a one-year budget is line with a bill Steinitz submitted to the Knesset\’s Finance Committee a month ago, which stipulates that State budgets will be biannual except in election years or years of financial crisis.
Last month, the Finance Ministry looked into the possibility of presenting a biannual budget, but the political difficulties of setting a budget for a new government outweighed the advantages of a biannual budget. However, Steinitz is expected to recommend that the general guideline that state budgets cover two fiscal years be implemented after the elections of 2013.
"2013 is an election year. There is a uncertainty about the euro zone, and so I will submit a budget for one year only," Steinitz told the committee.
Thus far, biannual budgets have passed twice: for 2009-2010 and for 2011-2012. The idea is the brainchild of Steinitz and he is one of its biggest proponents, arguing that biannual budgets save money and help streamline the work of government ministries.
However, biannual budgets have also been criticized by elements who argue that they weaken the Knesset, which debates the budget once every two years. Opponents of the biannual system also claim that it increases the risk of a deficit due to incorrect planning.
The decision to pass the 2013 budget for one year only could also have to do with the fact that it is considered a particularly harsh one, with slated budget cuts of NIS 7-10 billion, which reportedly include across-the-board cuts to all government ministries, other than the Defense Ministry.