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How much do you know about the fiscal cliff? Abilenians speak out

By Jenna Rogers, Reporter, jrogers@ktxs.com
Published On: Dec 06 2012 08:03:35 PM CST

"I haven't paid a whole lot of attention to it lately," said Abilene resident Diane Owens. "But my husband and I are getting older, so I do wonder what it will be like for retirement." 

This is the case for many people who aren't sure how they will be impacted by the fiscal cliff. 

"It is actually a big deal. No one's worried about it," said Dr. Ian Shepherd. He said going over the cliff at the end of the year will mean higher income taxes across the board. 

"This is going to affect everyone, not just the rich people who live in town. It will affect everyone," said Shepherd. 

He said less money to individuals means less "stuff" for Abilene. When people purchase less, the economy suffers. 

"Less 'stuff' for Abilene means businesses have to cut back. When they cut back, we lose jobs. It will have a significant impact on Abilene," said Shepherd.

Dr. Shepherd said the average family in Abilene earns roughly $55,000. Increases will mean that same family will pay $2,500 more in taxes each year.

That's money the government will spend however it chooses; and that tax money won't necessarily come back to Abilene.

"When I spend money at United (grocery store), I vote for United, not some bridge or road somewhere else," said Shepherd.   

He said higher taxes plus less consumer spending could equal another recession.

"I believe it will send us into another recession," said Tim Adcock, a resident of Abilene.

"I'm worried about it. I believe it will...perhaps worse. A depression maybe, I don't know," said Felton Gilmore, an Abilene resident.

Negotiations to avoid going over the fiscal cliff are ongoing in Washington and it remains unclear whether a decision will be reached before the end of the year.