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WATCHBLOG: Casey says ‘fiscal cliff’ talks may change federal cuts

By   /   December 8, 2012  /   No Comments

By Melissa Daniels | PA Independent

NEW YORK CITY – As far as so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations go, there’s been no little progress, and a lot of foreboding.

But U.S. Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pennsylvania, shed some light on the situation with PA Independent today, saying he thinks across-the-board spending cuts may be averted in favor of more strategic cuts.

SEN. BOB CASEY said he thinks it possible a fiscal cliff automatic cuts may be averted in a potential deal.

 “I think it’s very possible to get something that will avert them for the short-term,” Casey said to PA Independent. “We still have to come up with a way to reduce spending. But for the near term, so we don’t have that shock, we should avert those cuts.”

The fiscal cliff is a set of tax rate increases on individuals and businesses, and across the board federal spending cuts that would take about $300 million away from Pennsylvania, that would hit in 2013. State officials, including Gov. Tom Corbett, have said that going off the cliff could be fiscally painful for the state, or trigger another recession.

Casey said the federal lawmakers know they need to cut from the budget now and over time, but those decisions should be “smart and strategic.”

Casey talked about the cliff and more to scores of Pennsylvania politicians and business leaders Saturday morning, as one of several high-profile panelists at the annual Pennsylvania Manufactures Association forum and luncheon.

Held at the Metropolitan Club, the event is a popular staple of the Pennsylvania Society weekend in New York City – and it’s one of the events that most strongly focuses on government policy.

Casey also said an ideal agreement would deal with tax rates. But he wants to see the discussion move away from what to do with high-income earners, at least for now.

“The 98 percent are held hostage by the debate on the two percent, and we should get that off the table, give certainty to them,” Casey said.

This week, the House of Representatives is scheduled to vote on a bill the Senate passed in July that would extend tax cuts on middle income earners. If that passed, it would give more certainty to middle-income earners, Casey said.

Casey is also pushing for an extension of the payroll tax cut, which would keep payroll taxes at 4 percent. Casey’s office estimates the cut saved the average Pennsylvanian family $1,000 last year.

Contact Melissa Daniels at [email protected]


Melissa formerly served as staff reporter for Watchdog.org.