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Business leaders offer suggestions on budget crisis

Some favor taxes on high-income earners and paring government spending to resolve a looming budget crisis. But where to make the cuts poses tricky questions.

The "fiscal cliff" is the series of automatic US budget cuts and tax increases slated to go into effect on Jan. 1, 2013, unless lawmakers can strike a deal on the budget deficit before year's end. The deadline arose out of a deal to end a prolonged standoff over raising the United States debt ceiling in August 2011. Here is a look at the fiscal cliff, by the numbers.

More than $500 billion
The amount taxpayers will pay in increased taxes in 2013, due to the expiration of the Bush-era tax cuts and other tax increases, according to a Tax Policy Center analysis.
30 million
The number of people who will be subject to the alternative minimum tax, or AMT, up from 4 million currently, accounting for more than $221 billion in additional revenue for the United States between fiscal years 2012 and 2013, the Congressional Budget Office estimates.
$3,500 a year
The amount in increased taxes each household, on average, will pay in taxes in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center.
$2,000 a year
The amount in increased taxes a middle-income family will pay in 2013, according to the Tax Policy Center.
$1,000 a year
The amount someone making $50,000 a year will pay a year from the expiration of a payroll tax cut — the 2 percentage point break in Social Security taxes enacted in 2010, which is set to expire at year's end.
$412 a year
The amount the lowest 20 percent of earners would pay more, on average, in taxes, the Tax Policy Center calculates.
$14,000 a year
The amount the top 20 percent of earners would pay on average in more taxes.
$121,000 a year
The amount the top 1 percent of earners would pay on average in more taxes.
$110 billion
The total amount of annual spending reductions that will kick in for 2013.
$55 billion
Half the spending cuts will come from the defense budget, which accounts for about a 10 percent decrease from its current funding.
$55 billion
The other half of spending cuts comes from domestic programs like highway funding, aid to state and local governments, and health research - a total reduction of around 8 percent.
$11 billion
Amount of cuts from a reduction in Medicare payment rates for physicians.
2 million
The number of people who will lose extended unemployment benefits, which provide up to 73 weeks of aid per unemployed job seeker. It will save $26 billion in spending.
$607 billion
The amount the deficit will be reduced through the tax hikes and spending cuts.
3.4 million
The number of jobs that could be lost in 2013 due to the tax hikes and spending cuts, a Congressional Budget Office report estimates.
9.1 percent
The level that the US unemployment rate could rise to, up from the current 7.9 percent, according to a CBO estimate.
The number of jobs Massachusetts would lose over the next two fiscal years - the fifth most among states, according to a study prepared at George Mason University for the Aerospace Industries Association.
$200 million
The amount that Massachusetts teaching hospitals would lose through cuts to indirect Medicare support, which would cost the state 5,000 jobs. Only two other states would get hit harder.

SOURCES: Congressional Budget Office, Tax Policy Center, George Mason University for the Aerospace Industries Association, Associated Press, and Globe Staff reports

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