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Economy and Business

Longtime Ohio Republicans talk fiscal cliff
Former U.S. Senator George Voinovich and Rob Portman both said that tax increases and cutbacks on Medicare are needed


Two longtime Republicans from Ohio are talking about the so-called fiscal cliff. That's a package of tax increases and spending cuts that will take effect if Congress doesn't act. For Ohio Public Radio, Michael Locklear reports.

Locklear on the fiscal cliff

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Former U.S. Senator George Voinovich says he supports tax increases on the wealthy.

But Voinovich… who was governor of the Buckeye State in the 90s… says his willingness to compromise comes with strings attached.

“I think amen and hallelujah. I mean, there’s no question about the fact that we’re going to have to have more revenue, and most of the people that I’ve talked to have said I’ll pay more taxes if you can guarantee me that we’re going to finally do what we’re supposed to do in order to get our fiscal house in order. “

Voinovich says the scenario he’d like to see involves cutbacks to entitlement programs like Medicare and food stamps.

U.S. Senator Rob Portman agrees to tax increases… as long as they’re part of what he calls a “broad package” that addresses “unsustainable spending.”

 “I think there could be additional revenues. And I think it could come from folks who are at the upper end of the income scale, but if it’s done on top of our current antiquated and inefficient tax code, and if there is no spending reductions as part of it, which is what is being proposed by some on the Democratic side, I think it’d be a huge mistake, and no, I couldn’t support that.”

Lawmakers have struggled to come to an agreement that would avert the crisis.

Many economists say no deal would plunge the country into a recession.

For Ohio Public Radio, I’m Michael Locklear in Columbus.

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