Mayor Greg Stanton welcomes people to the PlanPHX meeting at Pecos Community Center on Thursday, Oct. 11.

[David Jolkovski/AFN]

Mayor Greg Stanton said he is remaining cautiously optimistic after hearing the news of a deal reached concerning the fiscal cliff.

“It’s unfortunate that it took till the 11th hour to get a deal done,” Stanton said on Wednesday. “I think that the American people deserve a little more time to review a plan as important as this one. That being said, certainly this is the first working day in the new year since we have gone over the cliff and I am fortunate that Congress did work out some kind of compromise on it.”

Stanton released a statement on Monday urging Congress to get back to work until a deal was reached. The deal reached Tuesday is only a partial agreement. There will be discussions about cuts to the federal budget coming in the next few months.

“I’m a proponent of a balanced approach,” Stanton said. “In order to get our fiscal house in order it can’t be all on the side of revenue or all on the side of cuts. There has to be a balance approach… We know that cuts are coming but the sequester, which is part of the fiscal cliff, that is not good public policy. That would be devastating to the Arizona economy.

“There are still a lot of challenges ahead. I am at least cautiously optimistic that with a bipartisan compromise that was reached in the last couple days that we are headed in the right direction.”

The agreement may be enough to keep Phoenix from sliding into another recession, Stanton said.

Chase Williams, chair of Legislative District 18 Democrats, said the deal is not perfect but it was needed to save middle class families and small businesses from seeing major tax hikes. Williams said this agreement does cut some of the deficit, but that it will take real discussion to pass any further cuts.

“Republicans are saying there were no cuts in this but they’re the ones who walked out on the grand bargain,” Williams said. “Speaker Boehner walked away from the original discussion. In order for us to address the deficit responsibly we have to make sure that taxes don’t go up on everyone. Overall, I thought it was a very positive thing for the middle class.”

David Bushman, chair of LD 18 GOP, had a very different view of the agreement that was made. He said though some Republicans did vote for the bill it was not approved by a majority of the party.

“In terms of your pocketbook and my pocketbook the middle class will be immediately affected negatively because the bottom line is they will have to come up with more money out of their take-home pay check that will go towards payroll taxes,” Bushman said. “Over the last two years it was decided they needed to give the middle class a break and now they’re re-introducing it. The bottom line is you have less money in your pocket than you would have before. In terms of helping middle class? No, they got hurt.”

Bushman said he’d like to see real solutions to help the economy, like measurable cuts in spending.

The agreement passed tax hikes on Americans earning more than $450,000. Discussion over spending cuts and an increase in the nation’s limit on borrowing will take place over the next two months.

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