In Maryland, government forecasters predicted that the state would lose 100,000 jobs if lawmakers do not reach a resolution. But as officials prepare revenue projections for state budget makers, they say they have little choice but to hope for the best.
“Like most forecasters, we’ll be assuming that we don’t go over the fiscal cliff as it stands in current law, that somehow there will be a compromise that will mitigate the impact,” said Joseph Shapiro, a spokesman for the Maryland comptroller’s office.
Any deal probably would involve a dramatic reduction in federal spending that could affect state budgets. Some expiring tax provisions also could be allowed to remain in place.
“I don’t even know that it matters what the construct of the deal is — I think we all realize that federal spending will decline, one way or the other,” added Betsey Daley, staff director of the Virginia Senate Finance Committee and chairman of the National Association of Legislative Fiscal Offices. “We just want to know when and how much, and no one can tell you that. That is the biggest challenge — dealing in this vacuum of knowledge.”