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Collins Sees Movement Toward Averting 'Fiscal Cliff'
11/16/2012   Reported By: Keith Shortall

Maine Republican Sen. Susan Collins says she thinks there is movement toward a a compromise aimed at averting the so-called "fiscal cliff," a series of automatic tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect January first - unless Congress reaches a budget agreement. Collins responded to questions about the negotiations while attending an event in Hope this afternoon. Keith Shortall was there.

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Collins Sees Movement Toward Averting 'Fiscal Clif Listen
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Collins says she sees a new willingness on the part of Democrats, Republicans and the White House to find common ground in heading off the so called "fiscal cliff," which she says could drive up unemployment to 9 percent, and have a particularly significant effect on Maine, due to imposed cuts in defense spending.

"My disappointment is that we recessed late last night," she says. "We should be in Washington working on this right now. Instead we're out the entire week next week. But I can tell you that there have been a number of discussions, both formal and informal, on how we can avert this catastrophe for our ecomony."

Collins says she believes that fellow Republicans will consider taxes as part of the solution, which she says must also include responsible cuts in spending. Collins says she is urging colleagues to consider a proposal she and Democratic Sen. Claire McCaskill, of Missouri, crafted last year.

"And that proposal was that there would be a 2 percent surcharge on very wealthy individuals - those with incomes in excess of a million dollars - but with a 'carve out' for our small businesses," she says. "The last thing we want is to impose more taxes on our small businesses, which are helping to sustain jobs in a very difficult economy. So I think that's a possible compromose for our colleagues to look at."

Collins say she would not agree to postpone the deadline for another year, as some in Washington have suggested.

"Employers tell me that they have frozen their plans to hire people, to buy more equipment, until they know what the economic policies in Washington are going to be," she says. "So we can't put this off any longer. It's been more than three years since the Senate has passed a budget."

Collins says measure she crafted the McCaskill is the only bipartisan measure that has been put forward as an actual bill.



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