Local Politics

NC congressional delegates speak out on fiscal cliff

Posted December 27, 2012 7:34 p.m. EST
Updated December 27, 2012 7:43 p.m. EST

— Members of North Carolina's congressional delegation are speaking out about stalled efforts between Republican lawmakers and the president to reach a compromise to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

"This is a serious matter. We should be very concerned about the fiscal cliff," Democratic 4th District Congressman David Price said Thursday.

There's less than a week for the legislative and executive branches of U.S. government to reach an agreement to avoid deep spending cuts and tax increases on most Americans.

"The American people and the country as a whole are looking at taking a significant hit," Price said. "There’s no way this should happen."

If a deal isn't reached, experts say, 2012 tax rates – ranging from 10 percent to 35 percent – could jump to a 15 percent to 39.6 percent in 2013.

That would mean, for example, a married couple earning $57,000 to $75,000, could pay between $2,100 to $3,300 more in taxes, depending on the number of children they have.

Taxes on estates and investments will also go up, and exemptions on many tax credits, including those for children and college, will either be reduced or eliminated.

The stalemate in Washington largely centers on tax increases.

The president and most Democratic lawmakers are calling for a tax increase on those who make more than $250,000 a year. Republicans, however, generally oppose a tax increase.

House members left Capitol Hill last week after refusing to act on a measure put forth by House Speaker John Boehner to raise taxes for those earning more than $1 million.

The Senate is back in session this week working on a plan, but Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it appears to him that the government is headed over the fiscal cliff because of a lack of progress in negotiations.

"I continue to urge a bipartisan solution that will avert sequestration and the fiscal cliff," Democratic U.S. Sen. Kay Hagan said in a statement. "The consequences of sequestration are amplified in our state, given our large military footprint and the economic importance of the defense industry to our local economies."

WRAL News reached out to Rep. Renee Elmers, a Republican from North Carolina's 2nd Congressional District Thursday morning but, as of Thursday evening, had not received a statement from her about the fiscal cliff talks.