With the presidential election heating up, the debate over how to deal with federal deficit is coming into sharper focus. Recall that as part of the deficit deal of last year, automatic spending cuts and tax hikes will take effect if no deal is reached by the end of this year.
Expect to hear more and more about this so-called “fiscal cliff” or “taxmageddon” over the next several months. If there is no overall deal, $600 billion worth of spending cuts and tax hikes go into effect on January 1, 2013.
Democrats are calling for a debate on cuts and increased revenues by letting the Bush era tax cuts expire, meaning a tax increase for everyone including the wealthiest Americans. To date, congressional Republicans have balked at anything other than spending cuts.
There is little doubt that spending cuts will be a part of any final agreement to cut the nation’s deficit. That said, we cannot simply cut our way to prosperity and the League board has adopted a resolution calling for a balanced approach to the matter. Local officials are encouraged to study the issue carefully and talk to their congressional representatives about the importance of programs that have been used to improve quality of life in your community.
Arnold Weinfeld is Director of Strategic Initiatives and Federal Affairs for the Michigan Municipal League. He can be reached at 517-908-0304 or by e-mail.