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January 3, 2013

North Country congressional members supported fiscal deal

PLATTSBURGH — The so-called fiscal cliff has been avoided for now, but the North Country congressional delegation says a more permanent agreement is imperative.

“Our constitutional design requires consensus to effect political change,” Congressman Chris Gibson said in a statement. “In any era of divided government, if we do not work together, we will keep the status quo. In my view, that is completely unacceptable.

“We now have about two months to reach a major agreement to stabilize our deficit ... Our country and future generations are counting on us to get this done, and 2013 must be the year.”

PROTECTS MIDDLE CLASS

Gibson, a Republican from Kinderhook in Columbia County representing the 20th District, which includes part of Essex County; and Bill Owens, a Democrat from Plattsburgh representing Clinton, Essex and Franklin counties in the 21st District, both voted for the plan to avert the highly publicized budget problems.

If a deal had not been struck, a combination of automatic tax hikes, expiring tax breaks and significant cuts in government spending would have kicked in.

Owens said he was pleased that the deal protects the middle class from tax increases, but he wishes more could be done.

“This legislation represents a promise kept to protect the middle class from increased taxes while ensuring the very wealthy pay their fair share,” he said.

FARM POLICY

“While I would have liked to see the bill address spending and a comprehensive farm-bill reauthorization, it was clear after weeks of negotiation that the time for talk was over,” Owens added in a news release. “With middle-class tax hikes averted, Congress should now get to work cutting federal spending and addressing the need for good farm policy.”

The deal does include provisions to stem some of the damage the lack of a new farm bill would have caused, including fears that milk prices at stores would double.

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