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Social Security tax break unlikely to be extended

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TWC News: Social Security tax break unlikely to be extended
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CHARLOTTE - When you look at your first paycheck of 2013, don't be surprised by the numbers.

"You and I are going to see less, about 2 percent less, in our take home pay in our first paycheck," said Mark Dillon, a certified financial planner at Carroll Financial.

A social security tax break will expire at the end of the year. Congress is unlikely to extend it. Financial planners say a worker making $50,000 a year will lose about $1,000 in 2013.

"People need to plan for it, they need to expect it and they need to budget for it," Dillon said.

The two-year deal cut Social Security tax from about 6 percent to about 4 percent.

President Barack Obama and Congress passed the temporary tax break to stimulate consumer spending.

“You could say well it didn't spark it but maybe it kept it where it is and it would have been worse without that tax cut," said John Connaughton, an economist at UNC Charlotte.

The government is paying for the tax cut with borrowed money, adding to the national debt. Neither President Obama nor Republican candidate Mitt Romney has proposed an extension.

"The candidates are really reluctant to talk about this because neither wants to be the bearer of bad news," Dillon said.

That news could be hard to take for workers used to that tax break.

"They're easy to give out and people really like it,” said Dillon. “But they're hard to take back and people don't like it when you do."

Taking it back pulls as much as $110 billion out of American wallets. It's money consumers can't spend.

"Taking this money out of consumer pockets at this point in time could be problematic," Connaughton said.

Congress still hasn't decided whether to extend other tax cuts. Many consumers say they won't spend money until they know what lawmakers will do.

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