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Local Representatives on Fiscal Cliff Vote

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Buffalo: Local Representatives on Fiscal Cliff Vote
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A day after the vote to avoid the fiscal cliff, local congressional leaders are putting in their two cents. YNN's Katie Morse spoke with Democrat Brian Higgins and Republican Tom Reed about what the legislation means for Western New Yorkers.

It wasn't exactly the financial plan either side wanted, but after some last-minute compromise, Congress was able to pass legislation and avoid going over the fiscal cliff.

Local leaders, however, say the down-to-the-wire negotiations weren't what they had in mind.

"It was less a conversation and more a screaming match," said Congressman Brian Higgins, (D). "This issue could have and should have been resolved in April of 2011. We had a year and a half to resolve these differences, and here we are again in Congress waiting until the last possible minute, literally."

"We're seeming to always have to act under a deadline crisis situation," explained Congressman Tom Reed, (R). "The good news is I think there's many of us in the house that want to be proactive."

The plan stops huge automatic tax hikes from going into effect, but the average Western New Yorker will still see an increase in the taxes they pay because a temporary payroll tax reduction wasn't included in the plan.

"Let's say you make $40,000 – $50,000 a year. You're looking at a tax hike of $1,700 or about 4.5% of your income," said Higgins.

"We had to make a choice," said Reed. "And we supported it to avert that huge tax increase that was coming down the pipeline, and I know the payroll tax wasn't included in it, but those are the choices we have to make as elected officials."

Congress did delay across the board spending cuts for the country for the next two months. Representatives say, those conversations need to start now, so they're not pressed for time when that deadline comes.

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