Updated Mon, Dec 10, 2012 10:00 pm
A group of labor workers from Belmont and Monroe counties are using their local experiences to urge lawmakers to support a plan to avoid the so-called "fiscal cliff."
About 15 people, including veterans, utility workers, retirees and mine workers, assembled at the United Mineworkers Office in Bellaire Monday morning to call on Rep. Bill Johnson (R-Marietta) to support ending the Bush tax cuts for the wealthiest 2 percent of Americans.
Four in attendance discussed how avoiding the cliff would impact them personally, as they encouraged politicians to support a budget deal that would raise tax rates on incomes over $200,000 for individuals and $250,000 for couples.
"We're saying no cuts to Medicare, Medicaid or Social Security and to continue the tax cuts for working families, primarily those that makes less than $250,000 a year," said Ed Good, who serves on the board of the Upper Ohio Valley Central Labor Council.
Good said the group is trying to capture public awareness and support by putting a local face on a national issue.
They're encouraging community members to send letters to Rep. Johnson, Sen. Rob Portman (R-Ohio) and Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) that ask them to support the President's plan, which would raise $1.6 trillion in revenue over 10 years, partly by letting decade-old tax cuts on the country's highest earners expire at the end of the year.
"Neighbors need to talk to neighbors. People in the communities need to be aware of this," he said. "We go to church with these folks. We see them in the grocery store, in the barber shop."
Good said the labor workers have assembled on more than one occasion to spread awareness about their position, and intend to ramp up their campaign efforts as the fiscal cliff deadline approaches.
"No deal is better than a bad deal," said Good. "I think that when we provide phone numbers and contact information for folks to reach out to their legislatures, some people will get that. Some people simply cannot afford another $2,500 in taxes."
House Republicans say their plan would increase taxes by $800 billion over 10 years, which would be raised through a comprehensive overhaul of the tax code that would curb various tax breaks, but lower tax rates overall.
There are 22 days left until the fiscal cliff deadline.