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How do MD Businesses Prepare for the New Norm: Less Federal Spending

Tim Robbins opined that there were two types of people: Those who, upon hearing that a storm is coming, simply pray that it passes them by, and those who prepare for it. The Shawshank Redemption

It’s no secret what the smart Maryland businesses should be doing.

A recent Baltimore Sun article expresses the view that it’s no time to panic, that Maryland enjoyed a surge of federal spending of late and that the cuts explored thus far are just returning us to 2007 levels – hardly a wholesale slaughter. However, I think that’s a small consolation to businesses who’ve hired over the past 4+ years to keep up with the workload. It sure isn’t any consolation to the families of employees who may be on the chopping block.

I think businesses need to do more than just console themselves.

Businesses need to retool – position themselves for work in the private sector or even overseas and it must be the business of the State of Maryland and our own community of entrepreneurs and educational institutions to help them.

And in contemplating that, my mind naturally turns to…healthcare.

We all know that healthcare costs have soared out of control; technology, an endless line of specialists for any given ailment, medication, malpractice insurance…all of it. But in all of this, there has been one radical change of perspective that has been dramatically successful in reducing costs – wellness visits; the thought that the medical profession should emphasize prevention rather than just react to problems.

I’d write the same prescription for Maryland businesses. Now is the time for the City, State, and Maryland’s private businesses to implement programs to help businesses reposition themselves for a different kind of competition, for a different kind of customer.

I’m not urging the State or City to come out with financial incentives – the businesses already have a big one. But, I am urging the State and City to play a leadership role. The risk of doing nothing, in the path of the oncoming storm, is that we’ll look around at the wreckage of higher unemployment and a diminishing tax base and wonder why we didn’t better prepare.

How should we prepare?