(NBC News) As the Virginia Senate Finance Committee’s staff director, she’s preparing for the impact of what’s known as the “fiscal cliff,” a $607 billion bundle of federal tax increases and automatic spending cuts that could savage state budgets – and return the nation to recession – beginning in first days of 2013.

Unlike most states, Virginia has a $30 million emergency fund set aside to soften the blow of this massive budget contraction, but Daley and her colleagues in state government are still anxious.

They know a third of Virginia’s economy depends on federal spending. They know hundreds of thousands of Virginians’ jobs are in jeopardy in the next year alone. What they don’t know — and what no one knows — is whether Congress will act to avert this crisis.

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