By Ted Land (email@example.com)
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8:16 PM EST, December 12, 2012
SOUTH BEND -- Mayor Pete Buttigieg was among dozens of local leaders the White House recruited, Wednesday, to help send the message to Congress that something must be done soon in order to avoid the approaching fiscal cliff.
Buttigieg, along with other mayors who are concerned about how automatic tax hikes and spending cuts could affect their communities, took part in a conference call with President Obama.
“Congress really has to act. Our economy is on the line,” said Buttigieg, following the call.
Republicans aren't budging in their demand for more spending cuts and the White House isn't budging on taxes going up for the wealthiest Americans.
According to the White House, if Congress does not avoid the fiscal cliff, taxes for the average middle-class family would go up roughly $2,000.
Buttigieg fears the burden would mean less spending at local restaurants and stores. Some people might also have difficulty paying their bills, the mayor said.
“It’s going to starve us of the kind of revenue we need and the kind of economic activity that we need,” he said.
Buttigieg said he's also concerned about lawmakers focusing too much on cutting deductions.
He points out that some of the biggest employers here are non-profits, including universities and hospitals, which depend on charitable deductions.
“That’s something that could dramatically affect the income and the sustainability of some of our most important employers,” he said.
The conference call was an opportunity for President Obama to ask the mayors to contact members of Congress and urge them to come to terms with one another and the White House.
Buttigieg said he’s already reached out to lawmakers, who don’t sound all that close to a deal.
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