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How Fiscal Cliff Could Affect Central Virginia - NBC29 WVIR Charlottesville, VA News, Sports and Weather

How Fiscal Cliff Could Affect Central Virginia

Posted: Updated: Dec 30, 2012 10:58 PM EST

The fiscal cliff gridlock in Washington D.C. would have severe consequences in central Virginia. Political analysts say the damage to defense and domestic programs would be felt at home.

Tax increases and spending cuts are on the horizon, if lawmakers can't reach a deal by midnight Monday. As time is ticking away, frustrations are running high.

University of Virginia Center for Politics Director Larry Sabato calls the fiscal cliff fiasco deeply disappointing. He said, "I think everybody has a right to be disappointed. We've known this was coming for 17 months, and here we are in the last 48 hours and they're madly trying to put together a patch that can pass."

As the country inches closer to the cliff's edge, Sabato says Congress can't come up with a comprehensive program in the final hours.

"If we get anything at all, which seems increasingly questionable, it will be a relatively minor package," he said. "It will not address larger concerns - the debt, entitlements, probably won't even address many of the tax concerns."

Sabato says sequestration cuts that would take effect immediately are on the table. Those include a 9 percent across-the-board cut in defense spending, an 8 percent cut in domestic programs, and tax increases for everyone.

"This is slashing," he said. "People need to understand what is going to be happening if and when this goes into effect. Virginia has loads of expenditures. This is going to cost the cancellation of contracts. It's going to produce major job losses, not minor job losses in a state like Virginia."

Sabato says if no decision is made by midnight Monday, these negotiations will get mixed up in the debt ceiling debate set to unravel on Capitol Hill in February.

"This is a product of divided government, and when you have both parties having a significant stake in the federal government, you have to either find compromise or you get gridlock. Well, we've got gridlock," he said.

5th District Representative Robert Hurt released a statement Friday saying, "I remain committed to supporting measures that will keep all Americans' taxes low as we work on our top priorities of cutting wasteful spending to get our economy back on track and getting the people of the 5th District back to work."

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