• Local voters send message to Congress about fiscal cliff

    By: Jeff Smith


    CHARLOTTE, N.C. - As the fiscal cliff debates head down to the wire in Washington, local voters decided to send a message to Congress by writing personal letters to a local lawmaker.

    Sunday night, a dozen voters--many of them part of a grassroots tax advocacy group called The Action--gathered outside the Charlotte offices of U.S. Rep. Sue Myrick.

    Myrick is retiring soon, but the voters want her to help get legislation passed on New Year's Eve that would stop the fiscal cliff.

    "We certainly hope that they haven't lost touch with what the middle class is dealing with right now. But that's why we're here now, to give them a little bit of a reminder," said activist Ashlei Blue.

    The constituents wrote letters explaining what $2,000 means to them. That's how much more a middle-income American family would have to pay next year in income taxes if a stop-gap bill isn't passed.

    "That can make or break a family. Two thousand dollars can definitely make or break a family," Blue said. "We all come from different walks of life, but none of us can afford that kind of a hit."

    Lawmakers are debating raising taxes on the top 2 percent of households to stop the fiscal cliff.

    The letters will be left outside Mrick's door at her Southpark office. It's a largely symbolic gesture, but nevertheless a clear sign from voters that they want Congress to reach a compromise.

    A fiscal cliff stop-gap bill would also prevent huge cuts in payments to Medicare doctors, and extend unemployment benefits that are set to expire for about two million people.

    Congress will convene Monday at 11 a.m. -- the first time in more than 40 years that Congress has been in session on New Year's Eve.

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