Updated Sat, Nov 17, 2012 2:30 pm
It's put up or shut up time in Washington. The election is behind us and the economic disaster being called the fiscal cliff is looming larger.
Where does Southeast Ohio Congressman Bill Johnson stand on urgent tax and budget issues?
WOUB News spoke with Representative Bill Johnson as he had just returned to the Capitol, only a few days before he had defeated Democrat Charlie Wilson 53 percent to 47 percent to earn a second term in Congress.
“It has been well known that on December 31st some tax cuts are going to expire, that on January 1st over $22 billion in additional taxes are going to hit the American people as a result of Obama care and in combination, these are creating a fiscal cliff for the American people,” said Johnson.
Johnson gave the example that families making and average of $70,000 in income will see a $4,000 increase in their taxes beginning in 2013.
The tax hikes and deep spending cuts are scheduled to take effect on January 1st unless leaders agree to an alternate plan.
“Anyone who wants to call this a political issue, it’s simply not. It’s not. It’s the law, and a law has got to be addressed and it’s got to be settled between the president and the Senate and the House to stop this from happening,” said Johnson.
Experts say going over the fiscal cliff could trigger another recession and Congressman Johnson agrees it's something that must be avoided.
“What I would like to see happen is for common sense to prevail. We have put forth a program that would increase tax revenues by expanding the tax base, by eliminating tax loopholes and putting Americans back to work. That’s what’s going to increase revenues and at the same time, cut spending, because let’s not forget: America does not have a fiscal cliff approaching because we’re taxed too little. America has a fiscal cliff approaching because Washington spends too much,” says Johnson.
Johnson cites the $16 trillion in debt as evidence of this excessive spending.
President Barack Obama proposes extending tax rates only for family incomes below $250,000 and individual incomes below $200,000.
Johnson wants the current rates extended for everyone. He says he’s in favor of expanding the tax base by eliminating the loopholes and by getting Americans back to work.
“The last thing that we need to do when we’ve got a staggering increase in jobless claims is to tax America’s job creators. That doesn’t make any sense to me,” said Johnson.
Johnson says he and other Republicans were reelected to keep any taxes from rising and the president does not have a mandate for his position.