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A Review of Local Government Finance in Israel

Reforming the Arnona System

image of A Review of Local Government Finance in Israel

This report provides a comprehensive analysis of the Israeli system of local government finance, with a focus on the role of the Israeli property tax, known as the Arnona. Local governments are financed through a combination of revenue, primarily from central government grants and from the Arnona, which is levied on residential and non-residential land and buildings but is based on their physical size rather than their value. The first chapter provides a description of the Israeli system of local government finance and compares it to local government finance in OECD countries. Using standard criteria for the evaluation of taxes, the second chapter assess the strengths and shortcoming of the Arnona and the intergovernmental grant system. Attention is paid to fiscal disparities among municipalities and to the ability of the current system to provide all Israelis with adequate and equitable access to economic and social services and infrastructure. The final chapter presents a set of 13 policy recommendations divided between proposals for improving the existing Arnona system and a longer-run blueprint for a more substantial reform of the system of local government finance in Israel based on the establishment of a value-based system of local property taxation.

English

Executive summary

Israel’s local governments play an important role in the provision of public services. The central government has delegated to local governments the responsibility for providing elementary and secondary education and social welfare. In addition local governments provide a range of other services including sanitation, water and sewer, parks and recreation, and road maintenance.

English

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