If the country heads over the fiscal cliff Tuesday, Californians will be slapped simultaneously with a slew of federal tax increases and higher state income and sales taxes from Proposition 30.
Absent a last-minute deal, the federal tax increases alone will hit the average family with more than $3,500 in higher taxes in 2013.
"I'm totally worried," Julie Stites, a 40-year-old nurse practitioner and mother of two from Penngrove, said Friday. "It makes a huge difference to us."
The increases set to hit Jan. 1 could plunge the nation back into a recession just as it seems to be clawing its way out of a three-year economic morass, said Stites.
"I feel like we're getting kicked again," she said.
Also, extended federal unemployment benefits are set to expire for 400,000 Californians if no deal is struck.
The benefits have been extended several times as the unemployment rate remained stubbornly high following the last recession. But in November, the state Employment Development Department sent out notices that benefits for more than 6,600 North Coast residents would expire Dec. 29.
In Sonoma County, 4,140 people are set to lose benefits. In Napa County, payments are ceasing for 996 workers. In Lake County 755 people are affected, 728 in Mendocino County.
Officials in Washington continued last-ditch efforts to avert or soften the most damaging measures of the cliff, which in addition to steep tax increases includes about $1.2 trillion in federal spending cuts over the next 10 years.
Retired nurse Carol Rivkin of Santa Rosa said she believes a deal will get worked out, if not by Jan. 1 then soon thereafter.
"I still have faith they are going to do it," said Rivkin, 68.
If they don't, however, Rivkin says she's not sure what the impact would be on her. As a retiree, she doesn't have the same level of income she once did, but she does worry about continuing to qualify for certain tax exemptions, like the mortgage deduction.
"I'm a little confused as to what's safe and what isn't," Rivkin said.
What is clear is that without a deal, the list of state and federal tax increases that would go into effect Tuesday is daunting.
Proposition 30, Gov. Jerry Brown's voter-approved effort to help balance the state budget by generating new revenue for school funding, triggers two separate tax increases.
The base state sales tax rate will increase a quarter of a percent, from 7.25 percent to 7.5 percent, for four years. That means a $100 jacket will cost an extra quarter, a $30,000 car will cost an extra $75.
State income tax rates will go up for people making more than $250,000 per year. Currently, all single filers earning more than $48,000 and all joint filers earning more than $96,000 pay a marginal rate of 9.3 percent. Prop. 30 created a 10.3 percent rate for single filers earning $250,000 to $300,000 and joint filers earning $500,000 to $600,000; an 11.3 percent rate for single filers reporting $300,000 to $500,000 and joint filers with $600,000 to $1 million; and a 12.3 percent rate for single filers reporting over $500,000 and joint filers with more than $1 million income.
Those increases are happening regardless of the cliff.