Posts Tagged ‘fiscal cliff’

Latest “Fiscal Cliff” Talks Focusing On Tax Cuts

By Sean Whaley | 3:11 pm December 18th, 2012

CARSON CITY – As Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., prepared today to attend another briefing with his House Republican colleagues on the latest “fiscal cliff” negotiations, he said that he would consider tax hikes on the wealthiest Americans to reduce the deficit, but not to fund increased government spending.

“Am I willing to increase revenues to fund more government spending?” Amodei asked. “No, I’m not. The spending dynamic is out of control. Am I willing to look at revenues that will reduce the debt, not to fund more government spending? Yes I am.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

The latest offer from GOP House Speaker John Boehner made earlier today, called “Plan B,” would renew tax cuts for all but those making more than $1 million a year. The proposed was quickly rejected by the White House and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid.

A statement from White House Press Secretary Jay Carney said in part that President Obama “is not willing to accept a deal that doesn’t ask enough of the very wealthiest in taxes and instead shifts the burden to the middle class and seniors.”

Reid said the proposal would not pass both houses of Congress and he called on Boehner to work on forging a large-scale deficit reduction agreement.

“It would be a shame if Republicans abandoned productive negotiations due to pressure from the Tea Party, as they have time and again,” he said in a statement.

The latest counter proposal from the White House that was to be discussed at the House Republican caucus at 2 p.m. Pacific time would extend tax breaks for all but those making more than $400,000. President Obama originally proposed tax increases for those earning more than $250,000.

Boehner wants a vote on a tax cut extension by Thursday.

But Amodei said he is concerned that a vote on raising taxes on the wealthiest Americans, if it comes without some decisions on reducing federal spending, could mean the new revenue from the deal would not go to reduce the deficit. That is unacceptable, he said.

“So it’s not: I won’t look at any revenues,” Amodei said. “But it’s like, listen: If you’re talking revenues just to allow government spending to increase, that’s the problem. So, if you’ve got a proposal out there that increases revenues and decreases the debt, then hey, let’s look at it.”

Amodei said he remains frustrated with the discussions because they do not at this point appear to be focused on long-term solutions for reducing the debt and getting federal spending under control. Constituents and others contacting his office are, for obvious reasons, focused on the Jan.1 fiscal cliff deadline, he said.

“You show me a political winner out of any of this and I’ll show you somebody who knows nothing about the policy,” he said. “Because my frustration at the moment is, it seems like we’re talking about stuff that will not, at the end of the day, bring about any change in terms of the federal debt posture.”

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says he is willing to look at tax revenue increases if the money goes to reducing the deficit:

121812Amodei1 :19 Yes I am.”

Amodei says he will look at proposals that raise revenue to reduce the deficit:

121812Amodei2 :22 look at it.”

Amodei says the latest discussions do not appear to be directed at the long-term federal deficit:

121812Amodei3 :15 federal debt posture.”

 

Amodei Pessimistic, Frustrated On Fiscal Cliff Talks

By Sean Whaley | 5:07 pm December 11th, 2012

CARSON CITY – Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev., said today he is pessimistic that Congress and President Obama will be able to reach agreement on the so called “fiscal cliff” before tax hikes and mandatory budget cuts take effect Jan. 1.

Amodei, speaking by telephone from Washington, DC, said the sniping back and forth by Republicans and Democrats over extending tax cuts and cutting spending doesn’t get to the real root of how to reduce the federal deficit over the long term.

Getting the country’s economy back on track so jobs are created and consumer spending rises will do more to generate tax revenues and reduce the deficit than any level of tax hikes or spending cuts, Amodei said.

“You can talk all the revenue you want, and you can talk all the cuts you want, you need a healthy economy to get things going again,” he said. “And I don’t hear any of that. I just hear all the mud throwing on taxes and cuts.”

Rep. Mark Amodei, R-Nev.

If the federal treasury was collecting revenue at 2007 levels, the federal deficit this year would be cut in half, Amodei said.

Sen. Harry Reid, D-Nev., also said today that reaching a deal on the fiscal cliff before Christmas will be difficult.

Despite the apparent lack of progress, national news media were reporting that President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner exchanged new offers on taxes and spending to avoid the cliff, which will take effect on Jan. 1 without an agreement. Without agreement, taxes on all workers will rise, and mandatory cuts in military and domestic spending will be implemented.

Amodei said the problem with raising taxes is that it won’t help to get the economy back on track.

Fixing the regulatory and tax climate to provide certainty and predictability will give businesses the confidence they need to hire more workers and reinvest, he said. Instead they are facing a tax increase because of the requirements of the Affordable Care Act.

“You look at that impact on businesses and they’re putting all their energy right now into how to convert their workforces into part-time employees,” he said.

“If I was going to go down to Virginia Street or Las Vegas Boulevard and bet on something, I’d bet on nothing happening and all this stuff kicking in on the 1st,” Amodei said.

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Audio clips:

Rep. Mark Amodei says the key to solving the fiscal cliff challenge is getting the economy running again:

121112Amodei1 :18 taxes and cuts.”

Amodei says he does not think a deal will be made by the Jan. 1 deadline:

121112Amodei3 :10 on the 1st.”

 

Nevada Budget Likely To See Fewer Impacts From “Fiscal Cliff”

By Sean Whaley | 11:57 am November 20th, 2012

CARSON CITY – The impacts of the so-called “fiscal cliff” on Nevada’s state budget would likely be less significant than for many other states because of our lower dependence on federal spending, according to an analysis by the Pew Center on the States.

The impact on state tax revenues do not apply because Nevada does not have a personal or corporate income tax, according to the report The Impact of the Fiscal Cliff on the States. The report examines the potential effects on each of the states.

Analysis includes Nevada-specific numbers

On the federal spending cut side of the equation, Nevada’s share of federal grants subject to sequester, looked at as a percentage of state revenue, is slightly higher at 6.7 percent than the national average of 6.6 percent, and so could mean financial impacts.

But Nevada ranks well below the national average for federal spending on procurement, salaries and wages as a percentage of the state’s gross domestic product at 3 percent compared to the national average of 5.3 percent.

Nevada is also below the federal average for federal defense spending on procurement, salaries and wages as a percentage of the state GDP at 1.8 percent compared to the national average of 3.5 percent.

Federal non-defense spending on procurement, salaries and wages as a percentage of state GDP is 1.2 percent in Nevada compared to 1.8 percent nationally.

These numbers cited in the Pew report are all based on 2010 information.

And federal non-defense workforce as a percentage of total employment in the state is 0.9 percent in Nevada compared to 1 percent nationally, based on 2012 data.

But the Pew analysis notes: “The general economic slowdown that could result if the full fiscal cliff were allowed to take effect would likely overwhelm any of the separate impacts.”

Nevada officials are looking at the issue as one of several budget variables

The report, released Nov. 15, comes as Nevada Gov. Brian Sandoval is finalizing his 2013-15 state spending plan, which will take effect on July 1, 2013.

The impact of the federal fiscal cliff is just one more variable that could affect Nevada’s general fund budget. Another is expanding Medicaid to a new group of eligible state residents. Sandoval has not yet announced his decision on whether to support the expansion, which would be paid for nearly entirely with federal funds in the first few years.

“The Budget Division is currently evaluating the impacts of sequestration on federal funding to the state of Nevada,” said Director Jeff Mohlenkamp in a statement. “Specifically, we are researching reductions that would have direct impact on services to citizens. Some federal reductions may eliminate the resources to provide services but not eliminate requirements to maintain service levels. The potential for this type of unfunded mandate is of particular interest to the Budget Division as we prepare the budget for FY 2013 – 2015.

“There is a great deal of uncertainty surrounding other elements of the ‘fiscal cliff,’ ” he added. “ We understand the possible implications on the larger economy. At this point, we cannot speculate further as most of the critical decisions have not been made.”

The Pew study shows some states more dependent on federal spending

The Pew report on the fiscal cliff says that federal grants to the states constitute about one-third of total state revenues, and federal spending affects states’ economic activity and thus their amount of tax revenues.

Roughly 18 percent of federal grant dollars flowing to the states would be subject to the fiscal year 2013 across-the-board cuts under the sequester, according to the Federal Funds Information for States, including funding for education programs, nutrition for low-income women and children, public housing, and other programs.

Because states differ in the type and amount of federal grants they receive, their exposure to the grant cuts would vary. In all, the federal grants subject to sequester make up more than 10 percent of South Dakota’s revenue, compared with less than 5 percent of Delaware’s revenue.

Federal spending on defense accounts for more than 3.5 percent of the total gross domestic product (GDP) of the states, but there is wide variation across the states. Federal defense spending makes up almost 15 percent of Hawaii’s GDP, compared with just 1 percent of state GDP in Oregon.

The fiscal cliff, a series of expiring federal tax provisions and scheduled spending cuts, are set to take effect in January unless Congress reaches agreement on a deficit-reduction plan.

Scheduled tax changes account for roughly four-fifths – or $393 billion – of the total amount of the fiscal cliff. The scheduled spending cuts account for $98 billion – or about one-fifth – of the federal budget impact of the fiscal cliff. Over half of this amount is due to sequestration required under the Budget Control Act of 2011.

“To understand the full cost and benefits of proposals to address the fiscal cliff, policy makers need to know how federal and state policies are linked,” said Pew Project Director Anne Stauffer. “The implications for states should be part of the discussion so that problems are not simply shifted from one level of government to another.”

If the full force of the fiscal cliff is realized, the federal deficit would be reduced by $491 billion, the Pew Center analysis says. However, the Congressional Budget Office has projected that the entirety of the fiscal cliff would be a major driver of a general economic slowdown in 2013. Such an outcome would likely negate the more specific, separate impacts described in the analysis.

“Given the uncertainty about whether any or all of the policies in the fiscal cliff will be addressed temporarily or permanently, it is important to understand that the effects of the different components will vary across states,” Stauffer said.