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Well, it’s a new year, and while many were hopeful that our national economic uncertainty might be resolved, it hasn’t been. The New Year’s Day drama in Washington did address some of the revenue debate, but it has not helped offer the kind of confidence that businesses, individuals and government agencies need in order to plan for the future.

Everyone is still waiting, but waiting for what? Our businesses need to determine if they need to cut back or if they can invest in programs, products and jobs. The national elections, at least for the next two years, are over. It’s time for governing based on establishing the confidence our people need to make the decisions that will stabilize and grow our economy.

Aside from the fact that we get all sorts of scenarios presented by the media and elected officials, there are constant rumors that spread throughout communities, especially those communities with federal facilities. This only adds to the uncertainty, fear and doomsday predictions.

Regardless of the questions at the national level, there are still other things that are important and proceeding. The Maryland state legislative session has begun, and our county leaders are doing those things that are very important and cannot be ignored. While those things may be more difficult based on national uncertainty, state and local governments will also be making legislative and financial decisions. It is important that our community understand that these decisions can help local businesses and residents develop a certain level of confidence.

In the private sector, business decisions can be based on an array of varying factors. Looking at the long history of our country and our community, those decisions when made on consistent data have provided strong economic benefits. That is why the rumors and unsubstantiated predictions add to the inability to make private-sector decisions.

In an effort to at least bring the most current information to our community, the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce has decided to present an economic forum in February. It will include presentations by a well-known economist who will provide world and regional economic data and discuss how this data impacts our community. There will also be an update on the current status of fiscal discussions on our naval installation and a presentation of local data to demonstrate our county’s economic position. This information and a dialog with participants should help to provide our local business community with the baseline data they need to make critical decisions for their businesses.

Regardless, whether the economic challenges of our community are caused by national, state or local issues, it is important that we address them as a community — one that is dealing with the same facts and resources so that individual businesses can make the decisions that are right for them.

Our community has been and will continue to be successful as long as we can restore a level of certainty and confidence in the decision-making process.



The writer is president and CEO of the St. Mary’s County Chamber of Commerce.