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The finance minister wants to pass a budget. The congestion charge is just a tool on the way - Walla! Of money

2021-07-17T17:14:32.621Z

Imposing a congestion charge will not really change the state budget, but the discussion on it will keep politicians and journalists busy for a long time and allow the finance minister to advance his main goal - passing a budget in a coalition based on 61 MKs. Will it work?



  • Of money

The finance minister wants to pass a budget.

The congestion charge is just a tool in the way

Imposing a congestion charge will not really change the state budget, but the discussion on it will keep politicians and journalists busy for a long time and allow the finance minister to advance his main goal - passing a budget in a coalition based on 61 MKs.

Will it work?

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  • State budget

  • Congestion fee

Avichai Snir

Friday, 16 July 2021, 00:13

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Transport Minister Michaeli: It's time to release the blasts and traffic jams (Photo: GPO)

My dad once explained to me what the best way to approve a budget in large sums.

I was a kid then, so he used an example I could understand.

"Suppose you want to build a school, and you have to take care of the budget approval in the city council. Suppose also that you do not want to have a discussion about the essential things - planning, operating contractor, etc. What are you doing?"

He asked.



I thought, thought and thought, and found no answer.

So Dad helped me: "You start the discussion on the important issue of a bicycle shed."



"Why a bicycle shed?"

I asked.



"Because council members do not really understand building schools. But everyone understands something about bicycle sheds. One will ask if a shed is needed at all. Another will ask why build a shed with places for 12 pairs of bicycles and not 20. The third will argue that the shed should be suitable for all types. Of bicycles. Thus, the discussion on the bicycle shed will last three hours. At the end, you will agree with all the suggestions given to you, and will make all council members feel happy that each of them has contributed something. "In the other sections of the budget. That's how you managed to pass a budget of a few million shekels in an entertaining discussion about a bicycle shed that costs maybe 10,000 shekels."

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To the full article

When I heard that the Minister of Finance was talking about imposing a congestion charge on cars entering Tel Aviv, I remembered this story.

I was pretty sure that the current government is not capable of imposing a congestion charge, but that it is a beauty of an idea for budget discussions.

After all, in the end, the state budget will be about NIS 400 billion, and the amounts that will be received, or will not be received, a congestion fee are not going to change anything.

We hope that Minister Michaeli will recover

But the debates on congestion charges could provide employment for politicians' battalions for weeks. A politician who wants headlines as someone who wants to preserve the environment will be in favor of the toll. A politician who wants to be seen as caring for the poor drivers who just want to get to work will be against it. A politician who wants even more headlines will be in favor of expanding the fee to Haifa, Jerusalem, Beersheba and Eilat as well. As soon as they talk about a congestion charge in Haifa and Eilat, the mayors will also have something to say, and in this way it will be possible to fill newspapers for weeks with headlines for and against a congestion charge. Politicians will feel happy to have a topic to discuss, and the Treasury will gain weeks of quiet when it comes to issues that really matter.



This silence is very important: the government has to pass a budget with a coalition of 61 MKs, so the Ministry of Finance, and the minister who heads it, has no choice. As one of the coalition to vote against the budget,The government may fall.



Therefore, I was very disappointed when I found out that the Minister of Transport is so strongly opposed to the congestion charge.

Lowering the issue from the agenda so early is a real danger to the stability of the coalition.

My hope is that either the Minister of Transport will recover and keep the congestion fee in the headlines for a few more weeks, or the Minister of Finance will find an even newer and cooler idea.

For example, the decision to build a shed for 20 bicycles in every school in the country.



Dr. Avichai Snir - Netanya Academic College and Bar-Ilan University

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Source: walla

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