At the end of a long conversation on Tuesday, the Finance Committee approved the transfer of a committed surplus amounting to 15.7 billion NIS from the 2012 budget to the 2013 budget. The money transfer is for long term projects and expenses relating to the ongoing operation of government offices. The money was already authorized in past budgets and the surpluses that come about due to the biennial budgets are transferred from year to year. Finance Committee Chair, MK Nissan Slomiansky (HaBayit HaYehudi): ”The transfer of the money will allow for proper management and organization of the government offices. Today`s authorization will allow offices to keep their obligations to suppliers in a timely manner.”

Speaker Slomiansky explained to the members of the committee that ”We authorized the transfer of the surplus because we want to allow the offices to function normally and to prevent delays in their routine operations. This money is for programs that have already been approved and now we have been asked to approve the transfer of the surplus funds earmarked for the continued financing of ongoing programs whose payment occurs as they progress. This is not a transfer of a normal surplus that stems from unused budget money. Normal surpluses are returned to the nation`s treasury while this is only a surplus for the continued funding of already approved projects.”

”The Finance Committee will hold a seminar for MKs regarding budget transfers on the 1st of October 2013 in order to allow MKs to understand the essence and the technicalities of budget transfers.” He also mentioned that ”within the framework of the seminar, MKs will receive explanations for section 46 of income tax regulations, in order to allow discounts or exemptions from taxes on donations to non-profit organizations in the 3rd sector.”

The deputy appointed over the treasury`s budgets, Yael Mevorach in her first appearance before the Finance Committee, explained the essence of the surplus transfer from 2012 to 2013: ”These are expenses that were authorized by the government and Budget Law of 2012. This is money for contracts with 3rd party suppliers, which has not been paid for various reasons. For instance, contracts that were approved, but which also include milestones as well as long term projects where not everything is paid immediately with the signing of the contract. Everything has its own rhythm. For instance, when building a road, the expenses exist for many years. Also when engaging in a contract with a supplier, not all of the payments are made in the same calendar year. These are committed surpluses. The amount is similar to that of 2012 and the rate is similar to that of previous years. 9% of the budget transfers every year are committed surpluses. This year is unique. As we went into 2013, we reduced the number of regulations in the budget while changing the methodology and the ordering of the budget. This is a procedural process. In summation, the original 2013 budget should have these committed surpluses as well.”

Administrator of Economics in the budget branch, Ran Ridnick, remarked that ”Failure to authorize the committed budget will prevent the government offices from renewing projects or at least from developing new projects because they will be swallowed up by the need for the office to fund their existing commitments even for the projects from past years. The financing would have to come from the present budget.”

Former Speaker of the Knesset, MK Reuven Rivlin (Likud Yisrael Beitenu), explained ”If the Finance Committee does not reject this, the transfer of the surpluses will be automatically authorized after 21 days because we are talking about programs and projects that have already been authorized by the Finance Committee in the Knesset and by the government. However, sometimes it is necessary not to wait 21 days because of a pressing need to finance obligations already authorized and therefore the Finance Committee is requested to shorten the period of the transfer.”