Forecast fuzzy

By From page A4 | January 02, 2013

“The third quarter 2012 update to the Sacramento Region Business Forecast shows that, following a slight dip, annual job growth in the six-county Sacramento Region will begin to steadily improve through the third quarter of 2013. On average, over the 12-month forecast period, the region will see 2.2 percent job growth (equating to an annual gain of almost 19,000 jobs), which is a significant improvement over the average growth of 0.4 percent posted in the past year.”

Of course this November forecast could get a little jiggy, depending on what kind of backroom deal, if any, congressional leaders and President Obama manage to eke out in the four days between when this editorial was composed and Jan. 1.

Obama cut short his vacation, but left his wife and family in Hawaii along with the Secret Service at a cost of $200,000, to once again insist the Republican House agree to raise taxes on anyone making more than 200 grand. That would fund the government for seven or eight days. And, no, the president doesn’t plan to cut spending. In fact, he wants to spend even more.

“The forecast shows annual job growth in positive territory ranging from 1.6 percent to 2.8 percent within the October 2012 to September 2013 period. Regional job growth will exceed 2.0 percent in the first three quarters of 2013, a rate of annual growth that Sacramento has not experienced in about six years.”

As this editorial is being written four days before the Jan. 1 deadline to avoid the fiscal cliff congressional leaders came out of another closed-door meeting with Obama with no announcement and glum looks. Obama still wants to raise taxes on those $200,000 “millionaires and billionaires.” And the House Republicans are not going to vote for that or any bill that doesn’t cut government spending. So, it is looking like the automatic cuts are going into effect along with automatic tax increases for everyone, plus higher capital gains taxes. Combine higher taxes on dividends and capital gains with Fed Chairman Ben Bernake killing savings interest rates and you’ve got a perfect storm for small businesses and retirees. Add on to that the lower Medicare reimbursement rate to doctors and the looming Obamacare taxes and micromanaging of doctors and we’re all going to wonder what happened to health care.

The fiscal cliff is going to be another drag on California. Combine that with the income tax increase and sales tax increase California voters approved Nov. 6 and look for economic growth to flatten out in this state. Gasoline was exempted from the quarter cent sales tax increase but diesel wasn’t. That means trains and trucks are going to cost more to operate. That, in turn, means we will be paying more at the grocery store checkout counter. What gubernatorial genius thought of that taxing slight of hand?

The forecast for the California economy looks pretty fuzzy from where we stand.

Mountain Democrat

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