News / USA

US Cities Brace for Looming Fiscal Cliff

Michael Bowman
Looming automatic austerity measures in the United States, the so-called “fiscal cliff," could have a major impact on the economic vitality of towns and cities across the nation. Municipalities fear automatic tax hikes and spending cuts that would take effect January 1, as well as other measures Washington has been debating to avert the fiscal cliff.

Like many American towns, Dixon, Illinois, is still struggling to recover from the 2008 financial crisis and economic recession. Here, unemployment exceeds the national average. Residents are casting a nervous eye on Washington, where President Barack Obama and congressional leaders have been unable to agree on ways to curb America’s runaway national debt.

“I really wonder if they have thought things through,” said Dixon Mayor James Burke, who fears that an eventual deal may limit tax deductions for home owners, which could depress U.S. housing values. That, in turn, would constrain property taxes on which local governments across America rely.

“The big question is: what is going to happen to the housing industry? The housing industry has been the backbone of this economy in this country. I just wonder if the people in Washington really know what they are doing when they talk about that,” he said.

U.S. fiscal cliff repercussionsU.S. fiscal cliff repercussions
x
U.S. fiscal cliff repercussions
U.S. fiscal cliff repercussions
The threat of massive, across-the-board tax hikes and deep federal spending cuts has not spawned action in the nation’s capital. Congress' top Democrat and Republican acknowledge debt talks are deadlocked.

Washington was not always paralyzed by partisanship. In the 1990s, Former Democratic President Bill Clinton worked with a Republican Congress to balance the federal budget. A decade earlier, former Republican President Ronald Reagan worked with a Democratic Congress to reform Social Security, which provides income to retirees.

Reagan’s boyhood home still stands in Dixon, a national landmark and a source of local pride. The Republican icon would be horrified by today's gridlock in Washington, according to Reagan home overseer Ann Lewis.

“I think he [Reagan] would be very unhappy. Were he president today, there would have been negotiations going on long before this.  Because he believed in bipartisan politics,” said Lewis.

Dixon is not alone in fearing fallout from America’s fiscal woes. Severe cutbacks in federal spending, known as sequestration, would impact many programs relied on by cities and towns across the nation, according to Michael Wallace of the National League of Cities.

“Cities have already been through a recession, and have done the hard work to overcome that. What they really need Congress to do right now is just to do no more harm. And failing to do anything on sequestration is certainly harm,” said Wallace.

The Dixon mayor is taking a wait-and-see approach. “The business community has a lot of confidence. Now, whether this fiscal cliff is going to bring all that to a screeching halt, I don't know,” said Burke.

You May Like

Video Protests Continue in Ferguson, Spread to Other US Cities

Missouri officials say deployment of more than 2,000 National Guard soldiers helps curb second night of rampant arson and looting in Midwestern town More

Video Ebola, Crackdown on Illegals Hit Business in Guangzhou

Chinese city has largest community of Africans in Asia More

Video Legendary Lebanese Actress, Singer Sabah Dies at 87

Music and film diva, affectionately called 'Sabbouha' by millions of her fans, performed at Carnegie Hall in New York, Royal Albert Hall in London, Olympia in Paris, Sydney Opera House in Sydney More

This forum has been closed.
Comment Sorting
Comments
     
by: Jason He
December 18, 2012 8:58 AM
The congress should take some measures to avert the Lomming fiscal cliff. It will affect US economy even it is a little better now if it happens. I believe they will reach an agreement on the issue.

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Changei
X
November 24, 2014 10:09 PM
Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Aung San Suu Kyi: Myanmar Opposition to Keep Pushing for Constitutional Change

Myanmar opposition leader Aung San Suu Kyi says she and her supporters will continue pushing to amend a constitutional clause that bars her from running for president next year. VOA's Than Lwin Htun reports from the capital Naypyitaw in this report narrated by Colin Lovett.
Video

Video Mali Attempts to Shut Down Ebola Transmission Chain

Senegal and Nigeria were able to stop small Ebola outbreaks by closely monitoring those who had contact with the sick person and quickly isolating anyone with symptoms. Mali is now scrambling to do the same. VOA’s Anne Look reports from Mali on what the country is doing to shut down the chain of transmission.
Video

Video Ukraine Marks Anniversary of Deadly 1930s Famine

During a commemoration for millions who died of starvation in Ukraine in the early 1930s, President Petro Poroshenko lashed out at Soviet-era totalitarianism for causing the deaths and accused today’s Russian-backed rebels in the east of using similar tactics. VOA’s Daniel Shearf reports from Kyiv.
Video

Video Hong Kong Protests at a Crossroads

New public opinion polls in Hong Kong indicate declining support for pro-democracy demonstrations after weeks of street protests. VOA’s Bill Ide in Guangzhou and Pros Laput in Hong Kong spoke with protesters and observers about whether demonstrators have been too aggressive in pushing for change.
Video

Video US Immigration Relief Imminent for Mixed-Status Families

Tens of thousands of undocumented immigrants in the Washington, D.C., area may benefit from a controversial presidential order announced this week. It's not a path to citizenship, as some activists hoped. But it will allow more immigrants who arrived as children or who have citizen children, to avoid deportation and work legally. VOA's Victoria Macchi talks with one young man who benefited from an earlier presidential order, and whose parents may now benefit after years of living in fear.
Video

Video New Skateboard Defies Gravity

A futuristic dream only a couple of decades ago, the hoverboard – a skateboard that floats above the ground - has finally been made possible. While still not ready for mass production, it promises to become a cool mode of transport... at least over some surfaces. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Falling Gas Prices Impact US Oil Extraction

With the price of oil now less than $80 a barrel, motorists throughout the United States are benefiting from gas prices below $3 a gallon. But as VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, the decreasing price of petroleum has a downside for the hydraulic fracturing industry in the United States.
Video

Video Tensions Build on Korean Peninsula Amid Military Drills

It has been another tense week on the Korean peninsula as Pyongyang threatened to again test nuclear weapons while the U.S. and South Korean forces held joint military exercises in a show of force. VOA’s Brian Padden reports from the Kunsan Air Base in South Korea.
Video

Video Mama Sarah Obama Honored at UN Women’s Entrepreneurship Day

President Barack Obama's step-grandmother is in the United States to raise money to build a $12 million school and hospital center in Kogelo, Kenya, the birthplace of the president's father, Barack Obama, Sr. She was honored for her decades of work to aid poor Kenyans at a Women's Entrepreneurship Day at the United Nations.
Video

Video Ebola Economic Toll Stirs W. Africa Food Security Concerns

The World Bank said Wednesday that it expects the economic impact of the Ebola outbreak on the sub-Saharan economy to cost somewhere betweenf $3 billion to $4 billion - well below a previously-outlined worst-case scenario of $32 billion. Some economists, however, paint a gloomier picture - warning that the disruption to regional markets and trading is considerable. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Chaos, Abuse Defy Solution in Libya

The political and security crisis in Libya is deepening, with competing governments and, according to Amnesty International, widespread human rights violations committed with impunity. VOA’s Al Pessin reports from London.
Video

Video US Hosts Record 866,000 Foreign Students

Close to 900,000 international students are studying at American universities and colleges, more than ever before. About half of them come from Asia, mostly China. The United States hosts more foreign students than any other country in the world, and its foreign student population is steadily growing. Zlatica Hoke reports.

All About America

AppleAndroid