House to return to Washington as 'fiscal cliff' nears

Posted at: 12/27/2012 3:42 PM
Updated at: 12/27/2012 5:36 PM
By: Beth Wurtmann

ALBANY - Congressman Paul Tonko was guardedly optimistic on Thursday, that lawmakers can reach a deal by the end of the year to avoid sending the nation over the so-called fiscal cliff.

"Now's the time to build that consensus we have precious hours left, let's get it done, we know it has to be done," said Tonko, a Democrat.

Without a deal, automatic tax hikes and spending cuts go into effect.

"You would be looking at half a trillion in tax increases you're looking at 110-billion or more in service programs cut and there's forecasts of three million jobs that are affected," Tonko added.

According to the Tax Foundation, a single person making 50,000 dollars-a-year could pay about 1200-dollars more in taxes. A household with a married couple, 2000-dollars more.

"Right now no one in Washington is willing to make the hard choices that they were elected to do they're thinking about reelection instead of our future," said Steven Bouchey, a Troy financial advisor.

Bouchey said some of his clients have called with concerns about the impact of the stalemate in Washington.

"I think it's too late for investors to make any drastic decisions with regard to their portfolio. More than likely we will go over the 'cliff,' but it will get resolved," he said.

Congressman Chris Gibson said he's pushed hard for a bi-partisan agreement to reduce the nation's deficit over the long term, but politics are getting in the way.

"What you see is entrenched factions on both sides on the left and on the right that don't want to move and that's not helping our country at this point," said Gibson, a Republican.

Gibson said both sides must compromise on a tax plan and cuts to entitlement programs, so that generations to come won't be saddled with worse debt.

"It's vitally important to recognize the fact that we have to come together on a long range plan not just a short gap, which sadly is not where we are today," Gibson said.

Gibson added that if Congress fails to reach an agreement, he believes lawmakers will take action to reverse the tax hikes for middle class families, but that probably wouldn't deal effectively with taming the deficit.