Federal budget issues could impact Toledo - 13abc.com Toledo (OH) News, Weather and Sports

Federal budget issues could impact Toledo

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Toledo Mayor Mike Bell (I) released the administration's proposed budget for 20-13.  It projects collecting about $5-million more in taxes and hiring more fire and police.

But federal budget problems could affect city services here in Toledo.  The "fiscal cliff" that could come at the end of the year has Congress and the president scrambling to come up with a solution.  If they do not, Toledo could find itself in trouble again.

When he released the 2013 proposed budget, Monday, Mayor Mike Bell said "We have steadily moved forward from where we were three years ago."

Three years ago, Toledo's economy crumbled when the nation slipped into a near depression.

But union concessions, spending cuts and big projects such as the Jeep expansion and the new casino are helping Toledo regain it's footing.

Yet leaders in Washington are struggling with tax and spending differences and if they do not find a solution, the national--and the local--economy fall into another recession.

That has councilman George Sarantou (R-Toledo) warning, "Everyone will pay a very steep price if (Washington) does not take action."

Sarantou believes if congress lets tax hikes and a trillion dollars of budget cuts go into effect in January it will have a devastating impact on Toledo.  He told 13abc reporter Bill Hormann it "could lead to re-examining city services and what we could provide in order just to maintain a budget."

The so-called *fiscal cliff* at the federal level could push the local economy into recession with higher unemployment in Toledo, less tax revenue, less business activity.  Toledo Deputy Mayor Steve Herwat says that places Toledo in an uncomfortable position.  He said, "Based on what we know now, we will have a balanced budget but if the economy turns south we'll face some additional challenges."

That could mean fewer federal dollars to repair city roads or to help Toledo neighborhoods.  Perhaps no new fire station could be built and fewer new police officers would be hired.

Toledo has spent three years crawling out of a deep economic hole but that progress is in jeopardy.

Council President Joe McNamara (D-Toledo) said, "We're trying really hard to get out of this hole.  We're trying to be really responsible with taxpayer dollars but we're not out of it yet so another recession is just going to push us back down deeper."

Toledo hopes to quickly pass a new budget for 20-13, but this time, what happens in Washington could have a direct impact on how Toledo funds city government, next year.  

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