Posted: Dec 26, 2012 4:41 PM by Ben Trotter
BOZEMAN - The so-called "fiscal cliff" has been a hot topic for weeks now with people wondering how the national economy will be affected, but how about the economy in Gallatin County?
"What I hope is that people don't lose confidence," Bozeman Chamber of Commerce CEO Daryl Schliem said.
Starting Jan. 1, five tax measures will expire, part of the "fiscal cliff" facing the U.S. budget. These include the Bush-era tax cuts, 2009 stimulus, payroll tax holiday, alternative minimum tax and corporate and corporate tax breaks or extenders. If these expire and the Budget Control Act spending cuts take effect at the same time. Some say it will result in a return to recession.
Schliem says in recession, people stop spending.
"(They) go back into sheltering money, sitting on their dollars, and really, it's earning a little bit of nothing in the bank," Schliem said.
Another option is to simply raise taxes on the rich, however, Schliem says that's not a valid solution.
"Can the wealthy business owners afford it? I think a lot of them will tell you yes, but it is going to stop them investing in a lot of the entrepreneurship," he said.
That includes projects like wind energy and oil development, which create jobs and fuel local economy. Schliem says, even in difficult economic times, this area can weather the storm, if business men and women "keep that entrepreneurship that Bozeman and Gallatin County has been known for, that we continue to invest here in Montana and in Gallatin County."
In downtown Bozeman, people seem more worried about deals than the "fiscal cliff," however, many of them can agree on one thing.
"I think democracy is compromise. They need to find compromise answers and get on with it," said Mike Potter who was shopping downtown.
"Think as if you were one of us, rather than a politician. Put yourself in other's shoes," college student Mollie Morrow said.
Morrow says her finances are a "roller coaster" lately.
"(I) hope the leadership, again both sides gets together and gets something done, and they will, sooner or later, they will," Potter said.
Then there are people like Steve Sholey who, in uncertain times, find solace in faith.
"There's just a balance we have too. We have to reach at times for our faith or in hope," Sholey said.