He added, "In Israel we had eight good years from 2003 with average growth of about 5% despite the world crisis. We are a relatively rich economy with a high level of income. We expect 3.8% growth in 2013 and an important part of this includes the start of natural gas production, which will start flowing from the Tamar drilling and that will add 1% to the GDP in 2013."
Fischer said, "The level of unemployment in Israel has continued to fall for some years and is considered low even compared with successful countries like Finland. Overall our economy is very successful. The current macroeconomic situation is very good except for one thing and that is the budget."
Reiterating the concern about the budget deficit he has been expressing in recent months Fischer added, "We are far from the path that we hoped to reach. The main reason responsible for the deficit is that the economy grew more slowly than expected. The finance ministry's forecast for tax collection at the beginning of 2011 was very optimistic. So for the first time in many years the government spent more money than it had originally planned."
He said, "Even if the government succeeds in lowering expenditure that it is already committed to by 5%, there would still have been a 5% rise in spending. The government will need to increase taxes by about NIS 6 billion."
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