Wisconsin News

$2,000 average tax increase with fiscal cliff

LA CROSSE, Wis. - Pressure is growing in Washington on both sides to get a deal done to avoid the so-called fiscal cliff.

Tax hikes for nearly every American as well as significant cuts in federal spending will start going into effect in January.

The bottom line is less money for people in each paycheck. The Tax Policy Center projects anywhere from $1,500 to $2,000 more in taxes for the average person.

Experts that will have an immediate and damaging impact on the economy.

"If they do absolutely nothing and let time expire, you're going to have a large contraction of the economy," said Taggert Brooks, an associate professor of economics at UW-La Crosse.

Brooks says it's not just the tax increases that will cause economic problems but also the current state of uncertainty about what will happen.

"People don't know what's going to happen to their taxes, which is a problem. People can't plan and that's a challenge for the economy," he added.


"I think the biggest frustration is you have these deadlocks and one side saying we're not going to budge and the other side saying we're not going to budge," said Laurie Finn, owner of Finnottes Nut and Chocolate Shop in downtown La Crosse.

"Life is compromise," she added.

Finn says the shop has been busy this holiday season but she worries what business will be like after the first of the year if Congress fails to avoid the fiscal cliff.

"(People) need to be calling their representatives, calling their senators, whoever they need to, to make sure things get taken care of so that we're not dumped off a cliff," said Finn.

Tim Kabat, executive director of Downtown Main Street Inc., says businesses in downtown La Crosse have been thriving in recent months. However, he says things can turn for the worse quickly.

"When that discretionary income is reduced or even when it's uncertain, that keeps people from making that purchase or they make less or they hold out longer," said Kabat.

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