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Walker, Soglin weigh in on fiscal cliff concerns

Published On: Dec 09 2012 11:26:18 PM CST   Updated On: Dec 10 2012 01:28:39 PM CST
Paul Soglin
MADISON, Wis. -

President Obama and House Speaker John Boehner met privately on Sunday, as worries continue to mount over the so-called "fiscal cliff."

Just about three weeks remain before plunging over that cliff could send millions of American families into even tougher times.

All eyes are on the scenic D.C. backdrop of Capital Hill as federal lawmakers work to remedy the potential seven trillion dollars of spending cuts and tax increases.

In Wisconsin, local leaders are watching as well, and they are weighing in on what can be done to avoid falling over that edge.

Madison Mayor Paul Soglin is reminding folks to look at what seems to be a national issue from a local perspective.

"My only advice is this: Do not panic, do not make concessions that will hurt the economy," said Soglin.

Soglin said the fiscal cliff could create a deepening recession if lawmakers don't save what programs are crucial to the city.

"But it would also be a real drain in regards to the programming here," said Soglin. "With what limited federal resources we have, there are such important programs as our public transit system, and our desire to go to bus rapid transit."

Keeping state interests in mind, Gov. Scott Walker recently spent time at the White House with governors from both sides of the aisle.

"So things I talked about are similar to what others talked about," said Gov. Walker. "Concerns about the economy, concerns about the finances and really offering up suggestions that we're going to follow up on as an organization. Particularly for the Vice President, of ways that we can continue to highlight things that are good for the economy and our states and are good for our finances."

State governments could potentially also lose much needed federal aid, but Gov. Walker says for now that he's not putting together a doomsday scenario for the state budget.

"A lot of time in our states these decisions are made at crunch time, and hopefully the same will happen here," said Gov. Walker.

Gov. Walker has until February to outline his budget. If no deal is reached, federal cuts would start in January.

The non-partisan Tax Policy Institute estimates middle-income taxpayers would see their taxes go up about $2,000 per household.

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  • PHOTOS: Madison store helps collect hundreds of Teddy bears for police

    MADISON, Wis.--A west Madison store is part of an effort to collect hundreds of stuffed animals to donate to six police departments in Southern Wisconsin.

    Todd Merryfield, owner of The Learning Shop at 714 S. Gammon Road, said the store is collecting the bears for officers who use them to help comfort children with whom police come in contact.

    "This is a great way to support what (police) do," Merryfield said. "Those are the kids that need something like this to reassure them, calm them down, and let them know that things are all right."

    Nearly 500 plush animals were donated Tuesday, a Learning Shop spokeswoman said. The Madison store's effort is part of a larger initiative through the Bears for Humanity organization. 

    Photos by Doug Wahl

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