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Reality Check: How the fiscal cliff will impact you

By: Brittany Pelletz Email
By: Brittany Pelletz Email

"I was just kind of hoping that they figure something out," says Lexington resident, Ryan Voogt.

Voogt is like many Kentuckians waiting to see how the potential "fiscal cliff" could impact his family, "We keep it pretty tight. We try to make sure we save and you know, always know what our income is. We always try to have a sort of safety net for ourselves, in case something was to happen."

With just a few days for Congress to reach an agreement, we sat down with Dr. Jennifer Hunter, an Assistant Extension Professor with Family Financial Management to get an idea of how much money could come out of your pocket.

"In general, Kentuckians may expect to experience somewhere between $2,500 to a $3,500 increase in the amount of taxes that they pay based on their income," says Hunter.

"That's about $2-$300 a month or more per taxes. We would see that in our budget definitely. We have enough to handle it, but we would notice that, you know. It's not going to be food on the table or not, but I think we would need to tighten in some ways for sure," adds Voogt.

Along with paying more taxes, the fiscal cliff would call for $1.2 trillion dollars in spending cuts.

"Both the spending cuts and the tax cut expirations, those will phase in over a period of time. So the federal government just immediately will not just quit spending $1.2 trillion dollars. That's going to be phased in," says Hunter.

Hunter also says the unemployment program will likely take a huge hit. Hunter says now people receive 99 weeks of unemployment benefits but after the fiscal cliff, that would decrease to 26 weeks.

Even if an agreement is not reached by the end of the year, Hunter believes it's possible for Congress to find a temporary solution, "A patch could be put in place in February, March, or April that could revert some of this and so the full impact could not be felt. Then it is possible, yes, to experience some of those recession-type economic events again."

Hunter says the impact of the fiscal cliff will not be felt right away, but advises families to start planning ahead.


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