Business leaders discuss bipartisanship, fiscal cliff

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Photo by Katherine Schneider: Political insider Richard Goodstein, Washington, D.C. government affairs consultant for Air Products spoke this morning at the LVEDC's breakfast event.
Photo by Katherine Schneider: Political insider Richard Goodstein, Washington, D.C. government affairs consultant for Air Products spoke this morning at the LVEDC's breakfast event.

When the holidays come around the first thing we typically think of is politics, right?

“Nothing says the holidays like politics,” said Christopher Borick, director of the Muhlenberg College Institute of Public Opinion.

This opening remark sparked chuckles from the audience at the Lehigh Valley Economic Development Corporation (LVEDC)'s Legislative and Governmental Relations Committee Breakfast held today at the Best Western Plus Lehigh Valley Hotel and Conference Center in Bethlehem.

The breakfast talk offered insights from both Borick and political insider Richard Goodstein, Washington, D.C. government affairs consultant for Air Products, who discussed and analyzed the 2012 general election results, and explained the variables, trends and how they will impact the nation, state and region during 2013.

For his contribution, Borick discussed what the future may bring in terms of upcoming elections. Gov. Tom Corbett, he said, has a good chance of being re-elected in 2014.

“A Pennsylvania governor has never lost a re-election since 1970,” he said. There may be bids by democrats Rob McCord, State Rep. Allyson Schwartz, State Rep. Joe Sestak and Sen. Bob Casey, however. Bruce Castor, a republican lawyer from Montgomery County may also challenge the incumbent governor, Borick predicted.

A highlight of Goodstein's address was his discussion on the fiscal cliff. According to Goodstein, the fiscal cliff is a “figment of the press.”

Goodstein spoke about the highly debated economic plan currently being discussed by President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner. Impending changes that could happen when the current tax package expires include a 2 percent increase in payroll taxes from 4.2 percent to 6.2 percent; a change to alternative minimum tax; a 27 percent cut in the reimbursement currently enjoyed by health care professionals by Medicare; and expiring tax cuts for estate distributions.

When the New Year dawns, there will be little that happens in the short term if these changes occur, Goodstein said.

The long-term implications will certainly be felt by many.

While there is hope some sort of compromise will be reached before the end of the year, Goodstein said he sincerely doubted anything would occur in 2012.

In any event, the details of such a compromise are being held closely to the vests of the parties in question; the truth is that nobody knows what the results will be. “Anybody who tells you what will be in the deal is lying,” said Goodstein.

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