Heading for the Fiscal Cliff
Alaska lawmakers say fiscal cliff threat is serious
ANCHORAGE - Some have called the fiscal cliff a manufactured crisis, but Alaska lawmakers disagree. They say it’s real.
“As folks know, right now there is a plan in place that will cut $1.2 trillion over the next ten years from the federal budget, and on top of that the Bush Tax Cuts will expire at the end of the year,” said Democratic Senator Mark Begich.
The United States is $16 trillion in debt, leaving Alaska’s lawmakers concerned for the Last Frontier.
“It does mean some of our military construction will be impacted, some of the programs from Indian Health Services, to roads and transportation, the FAA and others will be impacted,” said Begich.
But what Begich sees as problems for Alaska’s fiscal future are different from what his Republican counterpart, Senator Lisa Murkowski, is saying.
“Back in 2010 total federal spending on contracts, salaries and wages accounted for roughly 30 percent of our state’s economy,” said Murkowski. “And because our federal employees make up such a large share of the Alaska economy, these reductions I think will significantly impact our state’s economy.”
The end of 2012 means the end of temporary payroll tax cuts and tax breaks for businesses.
“There isn't a more critical issue that is facing the country than finding a resolution for the fiscal cliff,” said Murkowski.
That could also mean more than 1,000 government programs, like Medicare, could be headed for a cliff.
Now it’s down to the final month -- they must come to a decision by December 31.