Fiscal Cliff

    Don’t look now, but another fiscal cliff could be on the horizon.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Union College political science professor Brad Hays tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that another showdown is possible this fall.

  Following “fiscal cliff” and “debt ceiling,”“sequester” is the latest Washington buzzword.

In today’s Congressional Corner, Union College political science professor Brad Hays tells WAMC’s Alan Chartock that the draconian budget cuts were never supposed to take effect.

The IRS has delayed the opening of the 2013 federal tax filing season until this Wednesday, January 30.  The Massachusetts Department of Revenue is already accepting state returns. The D-O-R kicked off the tax return season with a new one stop web page.   WAMC”s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the Massachusetts Revenue Commissioner, Amy Pitter.

The recently passed fiscal cliff legislation included a one year extension of a wind tax credit, a welcome move for developers in Vermont.  The credit is being renewed at the same time that a pair of state senators are calling for a moratorium on wind development.

New tax law packed with breaks for businesses

Jan 3, 2013

WASHINGTON (AP) — Tucked into the "fiscal cliff" tax package approved by Congress are billions of dollars in tax breaks that should make the new year a lot happier for businesses of many stripes, including film producers, race track owners and the makers of electric motorcycles.

WAMC

The 2012 Farm Bill failed to come to a floor vote in the U.S. House before the end of year, but some key provisions were passed as part of the fiscal bill that the House passed late on New Year’s Day.

'Fiscal cliff' standoff over, Obama back in Hawaii

Jan 2, 2013

HONOLULU (AP) — A week after rushing to Washington to help end a tense, end-of-year standoff with Congress, President Barack Obama is back in Hawaii for vacation.

The president's annual visit to the state where he was born and spent much of his childhood was interrupted as he and members of Congress contended with the unfinished business of the "fiscal cliff" crisis that threatened to throw the economy back into recession.

Congress avoided the automatic tax increases and budget cuts of the dreaded fiscal cliff at the last minute this week with a deal that raises tax rates on individuals with incomes over $400,000 and couples making $450,000.

Bill Tiernan / AP

The vote to avoid the fiscal cliff left a certain House bill still hanging, as House of Representative leaders did not hold a vote on Hurricane Sandy relief funds, a supplemental appropriations bill. And while lawmakers in the Hudson Valley affected by Sandy voted to avoid the fiscal cliff, they expressed frustration and disbelief at not having the chance to vote on the Sandy Aid package. The Senate did pass a $60.4 billion Sandy disaster relief package a few days ago.  Matt Dennis is the spokesman for Democratic Congresswoman Nita Lowey, who represents the 18th Congressional District, which includes parts of Rockland and Westchester Counties, areas hard-hit by Sandy.

photo provided

Northern New York  Congressman Bill Owens joined other representatives from the Northeast in casting votes favoring the American Taxpayer Relief Act late Tuesday night.

The dreaded drop off the fiscal cliff has been avoided, so what does it mean for our taxes.  Before the agreement, there were dire predictions that many middle-class Americans could see their yearly tax bills go up by some three thousand dollars, if Congress and the White House did not agree on a tax and spending plan by the time the ball dropped in Times Square.

The House of Representatives late Tuesday easily approved emergency bipartisan legislation sparing all but a sliver of America’s richest from sharp income tax hikes -- while setting up another “fiscal cliff” confrontation in a matter of weeks.

Lawmakers voted 257-167 to send the compromise to President Barack Obama to sign into law. Eighty-five Republicans and 172 Democrats backed the bill, which passed in the Senate by an 89-8 margin. Opposition comprised 151 Republicans and 16 Democrats.

Medical device makers are warning of job losses and other consequences if a 2.3 percent excise tax takes effect on Jan. 1, as scheduled.

The tax is one of several imposed on segments of the health care industry to pay for President Barack Obama's health care overhaul.

Lobbyists representing the medical device industry have been urging Congress to include a postponement of the tax as part of any compromise to avert the so-called fiscal cliff.

WAMC

Representatives from three health care systems in New York’s North Country are warning that there will be severe ramifications to health care if the nation goes over the fiscal cliff.

The nation is fast approaching the so-called fiscal cliff, and after last week’s school shooting in Connecticut and the addition of gun policy to the legislative agenda, it’s unclear whether democrats and republicans will be able to make up their minds on anything before the end of the lame duck session.

Today we’re talking about what the so-called fiscal cliff means for Medicare and Social Security. Joining us for this discussion are two experts on these topics.

Cheryl Matheis is a senior policy strategist and executive with AARP. As senior vice president for policy, she heads the effort to enlist opinion leaders in an informed dialogue to engage the American public in the future of Social Security and Medicare.

Neal Lane is the former director of the New York State Office for the Aging. He is widely recognized as an innovator for aging services.

WAMC

Progressive activists are staging demonstrations and taking other actions across the country Monday to urge no cuts to social safety net programs be part of any deal to avoid the fiscal cliff.  In western Massachusetts they took the message to a district office of the state’s senior US Senator John Kerry.   WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports.

In demanding no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, Jenny Daniell, an organizer with MoveOn, said they wanted to remind Senator Kerry that Main Street, not Wall Street,  won the last election.

Advocates for the elderly across the region are raising red flags over potential cuts to Medicare and Social Security as federal leaders argue over what should be done to avoid the fiscal cliff.

AARP Vermont is concerned that last minute budget deals in Washington could have a negative impact on Vermonters.  The group has issued an analysis of how a budget deal that may include Medicare and Social Security changes would impact the state’s seniors.

NYS Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli

New York Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli says state residents will face $43 billion in tax increases if Washington can't find a way to avoid the fiscal cliff.

DiNapoli says the many cost-cutting and tax-increasing measures that would automatically kick in without a budget deal between Congress and President Barack Obama's administration will cost each New York family thousands of dollars.

DiNapoli is scheduled to release his analysis of the impact of the budget dispute on Wall Street and New York at a Business and Labor Coalition of New York event in Manhattan on Thursday.

WAMC

The Patrick Administration’s top budget official warns failure to avert the “fiscal cliff” in Washington will seriously harm the Massachusetts state budget.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

If the country goes over the so-called “ fiscal cliff” Massachusetts could lose $300 million in tax revenue this fiscal year and $1 billion dollars next year. It would also cost the state $200 million in federal funding that helps pay for a variety of programs according to the Massachusetts Secretary of Administration and Finance Jay Gonzalez.

Rich Honen

Dec 4, 2012

Our tech attorney, Rich Honen pays us a visit with some thoughts on the so-called Fiscal Cliff, the players, their views and what is means for us all.

AARP Says Benefit Changes Could Harm New Yorkers

Dec 4, 2012
AP Photo

  With the "fiscal cliff" looming, AARP is warning that changes being considered for Social Security and Medicare could harm older New Yorkers.

The clock is ticking closer to the end-of-year deadline to avert the fiscal cliff, which is a combination of the expiration of Bush-era tax cuts and automatic, across-the-board spending cuts. Some economists say the combination could send the economy back into recession.

AARP says a move being considered by Congress to increase the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67 would affect 331,713 New Yorkers.

As the federal government scrambles for a way to avoid going off the so-called fiscal cliff, a series of automatic cuts in discretionary spending, employers and industry leaders are warning that the cuts could have a significant impact on the economy of Massachusetts. WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports….

If Congress and the president cannot reach a deal to prevent it, at the beginning of January, $110 billion will be cut from discretionary spending in FY 2013. Those include cuts to both defense and non-defense spending.

Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders says cuts to Social Security should not be a part of any deficit reduction package used to avoid what's being called the looming "fiscal cliff" of automatic spending cuts and tax increases slated to take effect January first.

Sanders is a member of the Senate Budget Committee. He renewed his calls Monday for the wealthy to pay their fair share toward deficit reduction.