Ohio officials keep eye on 'fiscal cliff' talks


COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Ohio officials are watching with interest the negotiations in Washington to avert automatic tax hikes and spending cuts set to start with the new year.

The state's budget director says the tax increases are a greater concern to him, because of the potential they have to send the nation into an economic recession.

Tim Keen says if the country plunges over the so-called "fiscal cliff," Ohio could find itself facing budget challenges as residents lose jobs and spend less money.

Keen said he's not following every development in the ongoing talks between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner (BAY'-nur) of Ohio. But he said he's trying to take their impact into consideration while writing Ohio's two-year spending plan.

Gov. John Kasich (KAY'-sihk) will release his budget in February.

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