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Local Lawmakers talk fiscal cliff

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YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio - January 1st is the deadline for the so called fiscal cliff.

That's when $600 billion worth of automatic tax hikes and budget cuts kick in unless Congress steps in and compromises to stop it.

The second annual Regional Chamber Government Affairs Mixer was held at the Youngstown Country Club Monday night.

One of the main topics of conversation among business leaders and lawmakers was the government's fiscal cliff.

Tony Paglia of the Regional Chamber says the Valley can't afford an economic slowdown. "We're at a point here in the Valley where we're seeing job growth and we're seeing the economy improve so we certainly don't want to see that stop. So we all hope wise heads will prevail and there will be compromise," Paglia said.

Congressman Bill Johnson said if something isn't done soon virtually all working Americans will be paying a lot more taxes in 2013. He says even the lowest tax bracket would see a tax increase of nearly 50%.

"The speaker has made it very clear that we are willing to increase revenues by closing tax loop holes, by broadening the tax base, by putting people back to work. But it's very important with our economy being as fragile as it is, raising taxes on job creators is not the right thing to do right now," Johnson said.

Congressman Tim Ryan says this is an opportunity for both sides to come together to make the tax system simpler.

Ryan said, "We don't want businesses spending all kinds of money on accountants or families spending all their money. We want people putting money back into their businesses. So there's an opportunity to simplify the tax code, an opportunity to bring down the corporate tax rate and bring some fairness to the tax system."

Ryan says he believes there will be a compromise over the next couple of weeks and it will likely not be a deal either side will be a hundred percent in love with, but it's necessary.

Right now Congress is planning to meet after the Thanksgiving holiday to discuss some options.

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