My Sunday City Talk column today details the reasons behind my fairly upbeat predictions for the Savannah area economy in 2013: Predictions for the Savannah economy in 2013
I wrote that column on Thursday — that’s my usual Sunday deadline — so I didn’t know at the time that the potential strike by longshoremen at East Coast ports had been avoided for at least 30 days.
The other big variable that I discuss early on is the so-called “fiscal cliff”, which remains unresolved. As I’ve written before, Obama and Boehner were within a hair’s breadth of crafting a deal, but that collapsed because of the inflexible Republican caucus in the House. It looks likely now that we’ll see a somewhat smaller package of tax increases but perhaps more spending cuts — at least in the short-term — than the Obama/Boehner deal would have contained.
That likely result is certainly going to be a drag on the nation’s economy, but I doubt that it will push us back into recession.
I touch briefly upon local politics in today’s column, but I should also emphasize that good decisions at the local level could really help the local economy accelerate.
I’m hopeful that city staff learned something from their terrible handling of the controversy early in 2012 about the Savannah Slow Ride and their initially poor handling of the issue of horse carriages in City Market.
We do a lot of things right in Savannah in terms of the signals we send to young entrepreneurs, but we cannot allow bureaucratic nightmares — including overly cumbersome inspections and approval processes — to drive away investment.
I think Mayor Edna Jackson has set a great tone in these regards, and I think she’s listening to some smart people. I think the city might have made a few positive strides even under former City Manager Rochelle Small-Toney, and I’m sure hopeful that acting City Manager Stephanie Cutter understands the importance of having an upbeat, vital small business sector that is supported by the city, not hindered by it.