Utah League of Cities and Towns

Making Life BETTER

Senator Orrin Hatch (R) – Fiscal Cliff

The New Year is approaching, which is usually a time to pull out the party hats and confetti to celebrate. But this year is different: as the clock ticks down towards the New Year, nearly every single American is facing the real prospect of what’s called the Fiscal Cliff.

If a deal isn’t reached by the end of the year, 28 million more families and individuals will be forced to pay the Alternative Minimum Tax, 21 times as many farmers and ranchers will be hit with the death tax, and the average middle-class family would see their taxes go up by at least $2,000.

This could push our nation into another painful recession–sending unemployment back up over 9 percent, threatening our children’s ability to get a good paying job, and putting seniors’ retirements at risk.

President Obama is determined to raise the top two marginal tax rates. This tax increase would put nearly a million businesses and 700,000 jobs at risk and would only generate enough money to fund our government for 7 days.

There is no tax hike that could save entitlement programs, like Medicare or Medicaid, that are the main drivers of our country’s $16-plus trillion debt. These programs can only be fixed with real reforms that go to the heart of how they work. Shoring up Medicare and Medicaid will not be easy, but the situation has become so severe that it is the only responsible course to take.

Consider the Medicare program. In just over a decade, it will be bankrupt. On average, Medicare beneficiaries receive $3 in benefits for every $1 they paid into the system. And that’s while 10,000 more Americans join this program every day, the number of workers supporting it has declined by almost 18 percent over the last decade. How bad is it? The average family could give up its salary for an entire year and sell their house and still not have enough to pay their share to secure Medicare. Programs like these are unsustainable.

These proposed taxes hikes will hurt the cities and towns in our great state of Utah, which are still recovering from the recession. We should not raise taxes, but we should enact comprehensive tax reform that will generate more revenue, create jobs, and increase our GDP by as much as 3.5 percent. We should find a solution to ensure the survival of the Medicare program. And the President should work with Republicans to bring down our country’s unsustainable debt.

Americans want Washington to work together to get our country back on track, and to ensure we leave it in a better place than we found it for future generations. I will continue to work hard in Washington to help bring down our country’s unsustainable debt and get our country back on track.