Nov 21, 2012 1:41 PM by MTN News

Baucus, Tester share views on avoiding the 'fiscal cliff'

While Montana economists seem optimistic about the state's economy, the nation's financial picture appears a little less bright.

Congress must act by the end of the year or else automatic budget cuts will kick in, and many Montanans will see tax increases.

Senator Max Baucus is back in Washington DC negotiating a deal to make sure that this doesn't happen.

He would like to see a deal that includes a Farm Bill, tax cuts for middle class families and an extension of the current estate tax thresholds.

"The number one thing I hear from Montanans is get it done, and that's just what I'm working to do. Like a lot of folks in Washington, the Speaker of the House and the President are from big cities that don't understand the rural way of life. So, my job is to make sure that Montana and other rural states like us have a seat at the table," the Democrat explained.

While Baucus is negotiating, his Treasure State counterpart is expressing confidence a deal can be reached by year's end.

Senator Jon Tester believes the end result needs to include looking at revenues and expenses.

"The tax code is far too complicated and has way too many loopholes in it. I mean a lot of the tax loopholes are earmarks. Let's take a look at those, let's make it fair, let's make it as fair as we can. Let's make a tax code that works well to empower our middle class instead of depleting it."

Tester also says Congress also needs to look at spending cuts. However, he says he is not supportive of any plans which hurts Social Security or Medicare.


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