more comprehensive mix of new revenue and spending cuts.
Actual decisions aside, even the threat of the cliff was enough to impact the economy. Chuck Moline, president of AdviserNet Financial, said there was a "tremendous amount of uncertainty" in the markets, and hiring was already down. Small businesses had suffered from a much less lucrative holiday season than they had hoped for as people braced themselves for tax hikes.
"People are tightening up," Moline said. "We're seeing that here in our local community."
The uncertainty has bred confusion, he added.
"I think the general public, in planning for this, doesn't have any clear direction as to what to do," he said.
District 27A Rep. Rich Murray, R-Albert Lea, who also owns ISC Financial Advisors, said some of his clients were lightening up on stocks in preparation.
"We've had more concern from clients over this than probably any other issue I've seen in the last 10 or 15 years," he said. "The markets don't like uncertainty."
On the plus side for Minnesota, the state is a relatively minor recipient of the sorts of federal grants and programs that are subject to "sequestration," Washington-speak for automatic spending cuts.
Federal procurements and salaries amount to only 1.8 percent of the state economy, far below the national average of 5.3 percent, according to an analysis by the Pew Center on the States.
Even those spending cuts, particularly in defense, are subject to revision as Congress confronts the next looming fiscal crisis -- over the debt ceiling -- most likely at the end of February.
Moline expressed his distaste in Congress delaying action and letting the federal government allow tax increases and spending cuts to take effect.
"It's really sad that we're facing this fiscal cliff," he said. "Politicians have known this was coming for two years and have done absolutely nothing until now."
Even if Congress had managed to avoid the fiscal cliff, Moline said Monday morning he expected the agreement would fail to be a permanent solution.
"It's going to be extremely watered down, and we're going to be once again face with this mid-year in 2013," he said.
While Congress failed to prevent a nationwide careening over the proverbial cliff, Randy Kramer, a certified financial planner in Austin, insisted residents should keep an eye on their assets regardless.
"This is a time where everybody should be paying attention to how their investments are allocated," he said. "While slightly higher income tax rates and decreased government spending will impact everyone, the extent of that is yet to be determined."
While the fiscal cliff held many unknowns to make investors wary, Kramer said people should be conscious of possible risks at any time, not just in light of a possible fiscal cliff.
"Unpredictable events happen periodically," he said.
As the hours ticked down toward the midnight deadline Monday, tensions ran high and doubts lingered as to whether Congress would succeed in averting the approaching fiscal cliff. In the building New Year's Eve drama, the parties were at an impasse over whether to put off the automatic, across-the-board spending cuts set to take effect at the beginning of the year and if so, how to pay for that.
One emerging deal would have raised tax rates on family income more than $450,000 and individual income more than $400,000 a year, increase the estate tax rate and extend unemployment benefits for one year.
-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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