HONESDALE — One tax increase that was not avoided in the fiscal cliff plan was Social Security.
For the past two years, the taxes workers paid into the Social Security program were down by two percent. This year, it will go back up, forcing millions of taxpayers to pay 6.2 percent to Social Security.
Someone who makes $50,000 a year will now have to pay an extra $1,000 in taxes this year for Social Security.
Folks we spoke with said they can’t afford it.
It was business as usual Wednesday at Laurel’s Coffee Grinder in Wayne County. Owner Laurel Gardner whipped up some of her dishes during the lunch rush. Gardner’s been doing this everyday hustle and bustle for the past 14 years. She said she works 80 hours a week to support her family. When she heard about the hike in Social Security taxes, she was not happy.
“I’m a single parent. I’m struggling to get by. It’s just hard. I don’t know how I’m going to get by, if I didn’t have a huge mortgage, I’d be out of it already,” said Gardner.
The last-minute deal to avoid the fiscal cliff by the House and Senate includes the Social Security tax hike.
For the past two years, taxpayers have been paying 4.2 percent in Social Security contributions. In 2013, it will go back up to the original 6.2 percent.
Small business owner Bob Fierro said the middle class just keeps getting banged up.
“I don’t believe the middle class should take part of the brunt because they made their mistakes and they don’t want to curtail spending,” said Bob Fierro of Tafton.
Not only do folks in Honesdale say they can’t afford more taxes, others who are still looking for work said this is just another blow to the economy.
Kacie Conklin of Honesdale just graduated from Penn State University, and she’s been looking for a job. Any part-time job she’ll be able to get won’t pay for all of her expenses. She said it’s just not fair.
“It’s hard, on top of student loans and everything else, you just can’t catch a break,” said Conklin.
Even with this fiscal cliff deal in place, Congress delayed addressing more than $100 billion in government spending cuts. Those will need to be addressed by March.