Wisconsinites have a lot at stake in the negotiations about the fiscal cliff. Depending on how the negotiations around the fiscal cliff are resolved, the amount of federal taxes Wisconsin families pay in 2013 could change dramatically, some jobless workers could experience an abrupt end to their unemployment benefits, and potentially far fewer people could have access to federal programs that help Wisconsinites make ends meet.

At the end of 2012, a combination of federal spending cuts, program changes, and tax increases are scheduled to go into effect. This combination of events, often referred to as the “fiscal cliff,” would have the effect of raising taxes and making sudden, severe reductions in federal spending that could have the effect of slowing economic growth.

President Obama and Congress are deep in negotiations to address the various components of the fiscal cliff, and are aiming to reach an agreement before the end of the year when the changes go into effect. President Obama is advocating for a balanced approach to the fiscal cliff, one that includes revenues as well as spending cuts, but many GOP members of the House of Representatives remain opposed to any increase in revenue.

Over the next few days, we’ll be taking a look at what the fiscal cliff means for Wisconsin, and what Wisconsin families have at stake in the negotiations. Each day, we’ll focus on one part of the fiscal cliff and describe how potential changes could affect the bottom line for Wisconsinites.

Next: How would extending the Bush income tax cuts affect Wisconsinites?

More from the Wisconsin Budget Project: www.wisconsinbudgetproject.org