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January 8, 2013

Fiscal cliff agreement affects local residents

GRADY COUNTY — A local state representative is unhappy with the way Washington politicians handled the looming fiscal cliff.

"They almost seemed childish with the way they were acting," State Representative Joe Dorman said. "They were very open about their disgust with one another and that's not the way to run an efficient government."

After a tenuous month of debate and a last minute decision, federal congress reached a decision that averted the fiscal cliff, but effectively raises taxes on all Americans. The agreement, which only addresses some of the issues associated with the end of Bush era tax cuts will raise social security taxes on all Americans and will increase the tax rate on individuals making over $400,000 a year and couples earning more than $450,000 a year. In addition those in the top income tax bracket who did pay a 35 percent income tax will now pay a rate of 39.5 percent.

"I am worried about the impact this will have on all Americans," Dorman said.

Less spending will be the key for local citizens to avoid any sort of financial constraints according to Dorman.

"The last thing people need to do right now is increase their debt," he said. "Hopefully people can through their budgets and cut out things that are not necessities."

Dorman said he expects to see the same sort of cuts at the state level.

"We are going to have to be very thrifty about the way we spend money this year," he said.

District Four Federal Congressman Tom Cole had a different opinion regarding the fiscal cliff negations.

"I think most tax payers in Grady County go a good deal," he said. "The Bush era tax cuts where never supposed to be permanent and now they are."

Cole said the deacons made by congress will do wonders to help small business owners, ranchers and farmers.

"We were worried about those industries being destroyed and now we are past that," he said.

As for an increase in social security tax, Cole said that was inevitable.

"We have had two years of reduction in that area and the only to continue with the current amount of money being dolled out in social security would be a tax increase," he said.

Despite his hope for future bipartisan decisions, Dorman said he expects these problems to continue.

"Until they can sit down and compromise with one another we are going to see these issues continue," he said. "This is not good for America or the world since our economies are now so tied together."

Cole said the current legislation isn't perfect, but it is passable for the moment.

"Nobody likes doing this, but we have to get this spending under control," he said.

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