CEOs Say Fiscal Cliff Work Is Incomplete

Execs urge politicians to move quickly on tax reform, deficit reduction.

Chief executive officers from DuPont Co. to Honeywell International Inc. urged U.S. politicians to move quickly on tax reform and debt reduction after the standoff over the fiscal cliff hurt the nation’s credibility.

Bipartisan cooperation over the $16.4 trillion debt ceiling, averting a further battle between Democrats and Republicans, would give markets confidence and spur economic recovery, Honeywell CEO David Cote said yesterday. Congress and the White House are at “a starting point” after putting a stop to tax increases for than 99 percent of households, said Ellen Kullman, DuPont’s CEO.

Debt Ceiling

“We’re in the same old fight with uncertainty still in the market,” said Brad Thompson, CEO of employee-owned Columbia Forest Products Inc. of Greensboro, North Carolina, the largest North American maker of decorative hardwood plywood. “I was hoping for long-term spending cuts, but it’s the same old malaise, with our leaders just kicking the can down the road.”

Payroll Tax

The largest economic impact of the budget accord will come from ending a 2-percentage-point payroll tax cut, which will shrink paychecks for U.S. workers immediately even as most income tax cuts that expired Dec. 31 are being extended permanently.

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