Perhaps explaining its negative migration, the Central Bureau of Statistics released data showing that Jerusalem charges by far the highest municipal tax rates in Israel. For every 100 square meters, Jerusalem charges 1,233 NIS far outpacing the rest of the list with Ramat Gan coming in second at 1,067 NIS per 100 square meters. In comparison, Tel Aviv/Jaffa only charges 817 NIS.
The high cost can partly be explained by the fact that much of the arnona tax goes uncollected. While the city should be collecting 1.3 billion NIS in arnona money, it only receives 935.4 million NIS (71%). Meanwhile, Tel Aviv’s could collect 798.4 million NIS and it receives 788.7 million NIS (98%).
The money collected from arnona payments provides many basic municipal services. As Jerusalem is the poorest city in the country, many of its residents are eligible for discounts, however, the lack of municipal money leads to the same people having access to fewer services. Furthermore, high rates can chase those who do pay the full cost of arnona to other cities, which again increases the problem.
These findings, come at a time when the Church of the Holy Sepulcher closed in protest of attempts to collect arnona money owed from Church holdings not related to the churches themselves (such as residences and businesses).
(Header Photo Courtesy of Dr. Avishai Teicher)