WASHINGTON - U.S. governors urged President Obama to quickly compromise with Congress to avert the so-called fiscal cliff and avoid hurting economic recoveries in their states.
Governors also pressed the president to avoid shifting costs from the federal government to states as the White House negotiates with Republican leaders in Congress over avoiding the fiscal cliff, more than $600 billion of tax increases and spending cuts set to begin in January.
"What people are concerned about is the uncertainty that the current state of the debate represents to businesses and individuals across the country," said Delaware Gov. Jack Markell, D, at a news conference Tuesday after meeting with Obama at the White House. "The sooner this gets resolved in a way that's not a three-month fix, but that's a fix for some longer period of time, the better off that we'll be."
States are concerned that Congress could hurt their financial recoveries by eliminating billions in state aid and triggering a recession. That poses risks in the nation's capitals, where tax collections have rebounded near the peaks hit before the brunt of the 18-month recession that began in December 2007.
Utah Gov. Gary Herbert, R, said the fiscal cliff threatens to cut $500 million from his state's revenue.
"We've got to come together and get this done," he said. "This impacts the economy. The uncertainty that's out there lingering is creating havoc with the economies in our states."
Obama invited members of the executive committee of the National Governors Association to the White House for talks on the budget negotiations, the effect on states and potential compromises with Congress.
Governors at the meeting included Democrats Mike Beebe of Arkansas and Mark Dayton of Minnesota, and Republican Scott Walker of Wisconsin. Also present were Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner, senior adviser Valerie Jarrett and director of the National Economic Council Gene Sperling.
Obama put Vice President Joe Biden in charge of following up with the governors.