Local lawmakers taking action on looming fiscal cliff

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PIEDMONT, N.C. --  "Fiscal cliff"

Those are the two words everyone is hearing over and over. 

In the next few weeks, we will most likely be hearing this term even more.

The so-called "fiscal cliff" is a combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that take effect at the start of the year if lawmakers don't come up with an agreement. 

President Obama and Congress are working to come up with a compromise, but so far there is no deal. 

"Well the Republicans don't want to raise taxes and Democrats don't want to cut spending so they are in their two separate fortresses," explains Stuart Allen, an economics professor at UNCG. 

If a deal isn't reached the average family could pay $2,000 more in taxes each year. 

Government programs like defense, medicare and unemployment benefits could see massive cuts. 

"Unemployment rates will probably go up by a percentage point, which doesn't sound like much but when you are talking about 8% going up to 9% that's not good," explains Allen.

The stakes are high and the deadline is looming. 

Allen says big decision have to be made. 

"We want it without paying for it.  We've got a civics lesson to learn here," says Allen.

If you would like to share your opinions with your elected officials on what can be done to avoid going over the fiscal cliff, their contact information is listed below:

-Virginia Foxx – NC 5th District; 202-225-2071;foxx.house.gov

-Howard Coble – NC 6th District; 202-225-3065;coble.house.gov

-Mel Watt – NC 12th District; 202-225-1510;watt.house.gov

-Brad Miller – NC 13th District; 202-225-3032;bradmiller.house.gov

-Robert Hurt – VA 5th District; 202-225-4711;hurt.house.gov

-Morgan Griffith – VA 9th District; 202-225-3861;morgangriffith.house.gov