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York Mayor Kim Bracey joined three other Democratic mayors of Pennsylvania cities, warning about the potential impact of automatic spending cuts and tax increases set to begin at the start of next year.

"This would really have a devastating impact on all of us throughout the state," Bracey said during a conference call Monday afternoon, organized by the Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center.

Bracey said law enforcement and education face funding cuts in York if Congress doesn't avoid the automatic spending cuts. And Bracey, like other mayors who participated in the conference call, urged Congress to include increased tax revenue from top-earners as part of any fiscal cliff deal.

"We definitely don't want to raise taxes on our middle class and our working class families," Bracey said.

She was joined by Philadelphia's Michael Nutter, Allentown's Ed Pawlowski and Reading's Vaughn Spencer. The mayors spoke about the impact the cuts would have on the budgets they oversee, as well as other ones, such as school districts.

Nutter said, in Philadelphia, 400 Head Start slots could be cut, along with 30 jobs for teachers and classroom aides. And he said the city's at risk of losing $1 million in Homeland Security grants.

"Unless the budget deal includes significant new revenue, it will result in an enormous cost shift to Pennsylvania cities, municipalities and school districts," Nutter said. "These costs -- we cannot absorb. Our economies are still fragile."


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Nutter's office didn't have a total estimate for the potential impact. And Kevin Schreiber, York's director of economic and community development, said in an email that it's tough to predict the total amount of reductions that could impact York because it would be driven by allocations that the federal government determines.

Bob Wilson, chairman of the York County Republican Party, said later that he personally believes there needs to be both increased taxes and spending cuts. And he suggested reforming entitlements, such as Social Security and Medicare.

Wilson said if politicians can't compromise, there will be no progress in the United States and "the rest of the world's societies will continue to make progress, and they will leave us behind."
@edmahonreporter; 771-2089


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