The Election And Business

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At least one of the victors in Tuesday's elections tried to sound a conciliatory tone.

"It's not whether you're Democrat or Republican, conservative or liberal or independent, makes no difference whatsoever," U.S. Senator Joe Manchin said in his acceptance speech Tuesday night. "Are you willing to make some sacrifices and get the country back on the road it should be on?"

But when the nation, or at least 50 percent of it, re-elected President Obama, it also collectively kept Democrats in control of the U.S. Senate and Republicans running the House.

That leaves questions as to whether it can reach an agreement on taxes and spending.

"What's going to happen with our tax structure? Some of the tax breaks are going to expire, given the outcome of the election," says Charlotte Keim, President, Marietta Chamber of Commerce. "But revenue is needed, or cutting is needed, and the federal budget needs to get more in balance, and address the defecit."

And they can't wait until January. Those issues have to be cleared up by the end of this year, with tax cuts expiring on January first, and the so-called "fiscal cliff" looming as well.

Keim says the election results at least provide certainty on the makeup of the federal government., but raises questions about decisions to be made which could shape the future of business in our area.

"Are they going to try to clamp down on coal, which is a huge industry throughout this region. And that was a big reason a lot of people here voted the way they did."

Keim believes current expansion plans will go forward. What isn't so certain is whether area business will plan any future expansions. She adds the election outcome could also have an effect on the future of natural gas and oil drilling, and whether environmental concerns could take importance over drilling's economic impact.

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