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Economic forecast of Northern New York

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CNY/NNY/S. Tier: Economic forecast of Northern New York
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So what do you think needs to be done to help the economy in 2013? A panel of experts from all over the state were in Watertown Thursday offering their opinions. As our Brian Dwyer reports, the general feeling of things getting better is cautious optimism.

WATERTOWN, N.Y. -- The word of the day was possible.

It's possible by the end of 2013 that the U.S. economy can be on the right track. Experts at an event focused on just that say Congress has a generational chance to lead the way by coming together to balance spending and taxes.

"I think businesses will deploy the capital that they've accumulated over the last ten or so years. They'll invest in plant and equipment," Nick Verbanic of Nottingham Advisors said. "They'll start to hire again. They'll remove that cloud of uncertainty that I think has kept a cap on business investment."

What do the experts think would go a long way in doing that? They say it's as easy as Congressional compromise.

"We have a lot of politicians," Jefferson County IDA CEO Don Alexander said. "We no longer have statesmen, meaning that statesmen would have a position to take, but at the end of the day they would resolve differences amongst parties and individuals for the good of the community."

Will it change soon?

"Well that's a nice thought," Verbanic said jokingly. "When I read my fairy tale books to my sons at home, I'll mention that."

A better option may be local governments and agencies taking charge. One issue being consolidation.

Former Congressman Michael Arcuri noting that New York has more than 10,000 taxing jurisdictions while Texas, a much larger state, has less than half that.

"You come to New York and you have to deal with perhaps a village, a town, county, a water district, a sewer district and a number of other special districts," Arcuri said.

"There's a thing in development called time to market. People want to find a way to invest and get on with life," Alexander added.

Nothing will play a bigger role in Northern New York than Fort Drum. As the Department of Defense begins to cut its spending, will Fort Drum lose soldiers or gain them? Both are possible.

"We're certainly going to do our level best as a community to present our best case in hopes if there is that kind of retrenchment in the Department of Defense, we see it as an opportunity," Alexander said.

Something that comes back to Congress. Will it agree to a spending deal before sequestration takes $600 billion more from the defense budget? We'll find out in the spring.

The U.S. economic output in the fourth quarter of 2012, the GDP actually showed a negative number, down a tenth of a percent. Many thought that number would be up at least a full percent.

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