As Congress begins their annual August break, the opportunity presents itself for local officials to speak with their federal representatives about a number of different issues. This includes not only local matters, but others that have the potential to impact communities in Michigan and around our country for years to come.
Of course I’m talking about the federal deficit and the pressure on Congress and the President to put together a compromise by the end of the year or be faced with $600 billion in automatic cuts and tax increases. As I’ve noted before this is due to the debt ceiling deal struck in 2011. Programs cuts would occur across the board and the most visible of tax increases would come from ending the so-called “Bush tax cuts”.
Naturally, this has turned into one of the larger election year issues. While work continues on a overall 2013 budget, Congressional Republicans look to exempt defense spending from the automatic cuts and Democrats seek to end tax cuts for those Americans making $250,000 or more. And right now, they seek to blame each of other for a unwillingness to compromise.
There will be more and more in the media about the “fiscal cliff” or “taxmageddon” over the coming days, weeks, and months. And while there is no doubt from all quarters that the issue of the nation’s deficit must be addressed, it is important to note that previous solutions have included a mix of spending cuts and revenue increases. Without such a mix again, cuts will occur to every federal program that helps to improve quality of life in our communities.
As such, the MML Board has adopted a resolution asking Congress and the President to take a balanced approach to the matter. And the League urges this topic to be a part of the conversation with your congressional representatives as you meet with them.
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.