Diving off fiscal cliff could mean $1 billion lost in Illinois - WREX.com – Rockford’s News Leader

Diving off fiscal cliff could mean $1 billion lost in Illinois

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34th District State Senator Dave Syverson 34th District State Senator Dave Syverson

Illinois braces itself as the nation closes in on the so-called "fiscal cliff." State comptroller Judy Baar Topinka projects at least $1 billion in state money is on the line if negotiations don't pan out.

With three days to strike a deal, one local leader says Illinois business owners are already preparing for the worst.

"We're already starting to see manufactures and businesses start to hold back, they're not ordering, scaling down, they're not hiring employees even though business might be looking up because they're just nervous about what's going to happen in the future here." -says Republican 68th District State Representative Joe Sosnowski.

Topinka estimates social security, payroll, and income tax increases will lower the state's revenue by as much as $500 million. Plus, $400 million to $500 million could be lost in Illinois sales tax revenue. Lower household incomes could equal lower spending. On top of that, grants will be hard to come by.

"It affects a lot of our low-income assistance in the areas of homeless assistance, energy assistance, weatherization." -says Sosnowski.

President Obama is hopeful after talks resumed Friday. Some Republicans say tax hikes on those making $400,000 might be more realistic than on $250,000 incomes. Republican 34th District State Senator Dave Syverson wants to steer the conversation away from higher rates.

"You can't tax your way out of this problem, you need to do tough, difficult cuts, and then you need to try and grow your economy so you can also raise new revenue." -he says.

Syverson adds, even if a deal isn't reached by January 1st, we're still okay.

"The only way it would really be a fiscal impact is if something went on for a couple of weeks and it's really pretty unlikely that'll happen."

Democratic 67th District State Representative Chuck Jefferson thinks even longer.

"I think it would be maybe even a month down the road, but hopefully we can come up with some type of solution and we'll just go with it because it's going to affect a lot of people." -says Jefferson.

If a deal can't be reached by Tuesday, President Obama would like to see a vote taken on a basic package, preserving tax cuts for the middle class and extending unemployment benefits for the long-term jobless.

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