The County Voice

Fiscal Cliff: It’s Not Over Yet for Counties

We are starting to see some specific analysis from the last minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff, but even as we digest more details, some pundits are saying the specifics are less important than the deal itself. Both parties in Congress had to come together to make it work and the compromise bodes well for other issues — or so the theory goes.

Some people further to the left of the political spectrum are upset because President Obama and the Democrats agreed to reduce the amount of new revenue by raising the earnings-threshold for higher taxes to $400,000 or $450,000 for a couple. Those further to the right of the scale dislike the higher taxes, and have complained that the agreement doesn’t include any spending cuts yet. Congress agreed to postpone the decisions on what to cut and by how much for two months – which coincides with the next deadline to raise the debt ceiling.

And therein lies the rub for California Counties. We won’t know what the impact on Counties will be until Congress decides on the spending cuts — another two months from now. These decisions will be made during a passionate partisan debate. It will be up to counties to remind the decisions makers in Washington that the spending cuts they implement impact real programs and real people.

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