The Ottumwa Courier

November 29, 2012

Decision needed in looming fiscal cliff

Loebsack: Tax cuts need to be maintained for middle class families

Courier Staff Writer

OTTUMWA — Southeast Iowa’s congressman said it’s middle-class families who will plummet if something isn’t done soon about the impending fiscal cliff.

U.S. Rep. Dave Loebsack, D-Iowa City, spoke to the Courier Wednesday about the upcoming “fiscal cliff” and what it will mean for southeast Iowa.

“I do believe it’s a situation created by politicians in D.C. kicking the can down the road,” Loebsack said. “It should have been dealt with already.”

The overarching term fiscal cliff refers to the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and payroll tax cuts and implementation of across-the-board budget cuts by the end of the year or beginning of 2013.

With the nation’s economy still struggling to recover, Loebsack said the first priority should be making sure tax cuts are maintained for middle-class families.

“That’s the bottom line as far as I’m concerned,” he said. “We need to deal with this sooner rather than later. No action will lead to taxes going up on families and that will do nothing but hurt our economy.”

That means applying political pressure, he said.

“I’m attempting to put as much pressure on leadership on both sides as I can, as well as on the president,” Loebsack said. “I’m doing everything I can here to pressure both parties to get it done sooner rather than later, by sending letters to [House] Speaker [John] Boehner, by talking to my colleagues on the floor.”

Businesses need to know what’s coming in order to plan for the future, he said, especially when considering hiring new employees.

In terms of jobs, he said Congress also needs to look at extending tax credits for wind energy production and biofuels, as well as putting a Farm Bill in place.

“You think about the average person thinking about buying Christmas gifts ... and the certainty they need,” he said. “They need to know what their taxes are going to be before Jan. 1.

“I think it’s important we have a long-term solution to our debt problems. In the short-term, we need to make sure our country doesn’t fall off the fiscal cliff come Jan. 1.”