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Fiscal cliff looms large but especially in Arizona

PHOENIX -- Arizona's economy will take a heavy hit if the federal government is unable to avoid the fiscal cliff, a Valley economist said.

Elliott Pollack said the nation would go into another recession, Arizona would lose about 50,000 jobs tied to the defense industry and people would put the clamps on spending to offset higher taxes. But it is all preventable, according to the real estate and economic consultant.

"It has turned quite real," he said. "It hasn't been dealt with. If we go into a recession, it will be a crime in my opinion. Say what you want about politicians, but historically they get in a backroom and work out a deal that is best for Americans.

"This time around they have not done that. They're too stuck in their ways both Republicans and Democrats to make the compromise to get things going."

The Tax Policy Center estimates that failing to reach a deal before the cliff would cost every U.S. household about $3,500. A typical middle-income family would see taxes rise by about $2,000. Those in the top 1 percent would pay an additional $120,000.

"If the Bush tax cuts go away, it would cost the economy $330 billion in 2013," said Pollack.

Large tax increases and spending cuts would kick in Jan. 2, 2013 if President Obama and Congress cannot reach a budget deal.

The cliff is on Phoenix Mayor Greg Stanton's mind.

"I am very worried about it. All Americans should be worried about it," said Stanton. "If we go off of this fiscal cliff, it will put our economy back into recession here."

He said that would put a lot of people out of work.

"In Arizona alone, we are expected to lose close to 40,000 jobs in defense and aerospace," said Stanton.

"On the non-defense side, it would be another 12,000 jobs."

KTAR's Bob McClay contributed to this article.

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About the Author


Position: Senior News Reporter. Started with KTAR July 4, 1999.

Favorite food: Steak and shrimp, and any food on campouts.

Favorite spots in Arizona: Pinetop-Lakeside, Alpine, Greer.

Favorite news memory: The Wallow Fire in 2011 became the largest fire in state history. Rodeo-Chediski Fire in June 2002, which is the second largest fire in Arizona. The 2007 Southern California Firestorm and being at Sky Harbor Airport when the first plane lifted off several days after 9-11. Seeing the American flag on the tail of the Salt Lake City-bound Delta airliner as it took off still gives me goosebumps.

Favorite movies: True Grit, both 1969 John Wayne classic and the remake with Jeff Bridges -- which was outstanding --, Lonesome Dove.

First job: Spinning records at KLER Radio Orofino, Idaho 1980.

First concert: KISS/Cheap Trick 1977 Spokane, WA Coliseum.

Sports Teams: Washington State University Cougars, The University of Montana Grizzlies and Texas Rangers.

Outside interests: Sports, camping, fishing, traveling.

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