It seems likely that we will be hearing about the tortuous dramas of the “fiscal cliff” until the calendar closes on 2012. The president took his case to business leaders this week and will speak tomorrow to workers at a Pennsylvania toy factory, in an effort to ratchet up pressure on Republicans in Congress.
Meanwhile, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), is threatening to push the country into default unless there are drastic spending cuts. And so the wrestling match continues, teetering as close to the Jan. 1 “cliff” edge as possible.
Many Long Islanders, I suspect, will be watching how the debate settles over who is wealthy and who is middle class. President Barack Obama has drawn the line at earnings of $200,000 for an individual, and $250,000 for a household. He wants to extend tax cuts for everyone below those annual incomes.
However, this income cutoff is unfair to high-cost areas like Long Island, as some Democrats have acknowledged. In 2010, Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) floated the idea of raising taxes only on $1-million-plus incomes. A year earlier, Rep. Steve Israel (D-Huntington) was one of eight co-sponsors of a bill, the Tax Equity Act, that would have adjusted federal income tax brackets to account for regional differences in the cost of living. (more…)