Fiscal cliff getting dangerously close

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GRAND JUNCTION, Colo (KKCO) -- Will we fall off the fiscal cliff? Time is running short, and emotions are running high, as Democrats and Republicans are sticking to their guns.

After the smoke clears, the taxpayers could be stuck with the bill, as the issue affects nearly every American.

"$250,000 is a lot of money for someone to make," said Maria Keenan, owner and vice-president of Keenan Construction, Inc. in Grand Junction.

Keenan favors getting rid or tax breaks for those who make more than $250,000 a year.

"I don't know a lot of people who make $250,000; I know that this is a tax cut for the middle class. The middle class is the backbone of America for jobs," added Keenan.

President Obama wants to freeze tax rates for most Americans, while allowing them to rise as high as nearly 40 percent for the wealthiest people.

"The millionaires will probably get the tax break, and they'll probably put that in their savings," said Keenan. The fiscal cliff has become a bitter partisan issue.

"Republicans are not very happy that the Democrats were elected, but I do think they need to see why they were not elected," added Keenan.

"The Republicans will probably get the blame if we do go over the fiscal cliff, because they are the ones that are going to be politicized as having caused this," said Ruth Ehlers, Chair of the Mesa County Republican Party.

Ehlers argues this problem was caused by overspending, and not taxation, and high-income earners should not be penalized.

"They should always have the incentive to make more, and make more, and build their businesses, and not be penalized when they do reach the $250,000 threshold," said Ehlers.

Ehlers also argues those who make over $250,000 are the job creators and investors.

"They create jobs in many ways-- not only do they own companies-- and they invest in other companies, but they also buy things that give other people jobs," said Ehlers.

Republicans have been criticizing President Obama for not putting a budget forward.

"If people are really interested in seeing this solved and seeing us from going over this fiscal cliff, they need to contact the president. He is the one who is refusing to come to the bargaining table with anything serious," said Ehlers.

Regardless of which side you're on, officials encourage you to get involved because it's something that affects everyone.

"It's not just a party problem that we're having; it's an American problem that we're having," said Keenan.

At the end of the year, tax rates are scheduled to increase on nearly all Americans, raising hundreds of billions of dollars of new tax revenue, but costing the average family about $2,000 a year in take-home pay.

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