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What Does All This Mean?

By Jim Laskowski, CFO (South Bend, IN)

Fiscal Cliff, Tax Reform, Entitlement Programs, Sacred Cows, Greece/Spain, China , Change (Uncertainty)

I have no idea what all this means except for the fact that we live in uncertain times and changes are coming. Everyone, regardless of economic status, will be affected by the changes that will be made in Washington and in the World. The election is over and the way I see it, nothing has changed regarding the players who are going to make the decisions that affect us all. We, as individuals, can only control ourselves, and if fortunate, we have opportunity to make decisions that make life better for others.

In Holladay World, this means opportunity. We need to continue to look at the proposed changes and see where we can turn these uncertain times into projects and assets that will benefit our company and our employees. Health care reform will mean different things to different parts of the population. New rules and how we adapt will keep us busy. I just talked with our Health Insurance advisor and we will not know anything new about changes until sometime in late 1st or 2nd Quarter of 2013 From an individual perspective, stay the course that we as a company have started with the Wellness Program. Changes in our eating and exercise habits have paid off in healthier employees. All Health Program participants have just completed their annual screening and preliminary results are very positive for our group. Seems that we have all adapted to the Wellness program and have done a good job working on a healthier lifestyle.

Taxes will be going up based on everything I read. We have a few properties for sale and have been asked by our outside partners in one of the partnerships to accelerate the sale to close by the end of 2012. This is driven by the assumed increase in Capital Gains tax rate. Home Mortgage interest deductions (Sacred Cow?) are being talked about as a way to help reduce the National debt. How this affects us is directly in the path of uncertainty. Possible/probable, Social Security-Medicare changes, for someone in my age group it has an immediate affect but until decisions are made it falls into the uncertainty category. Younger employees have even more uncertainty in this area . Tax Reform , higher rates, reduced or elimination of deductions are all being discussed but currently both sides have different opinions as to the extent of the changes coming.

What does all this mean? To me, it means we all need to pay attention and seek advice from professionals as decisions are made in the different areas of our personal and business world. Pay attention to information that you receive from HR and ask the questions if you do not understand what is being said in the email or memo. Look for opportunities to change or enhance our ability to compete under new rules and laws. Most of all make sure you do not get complacent and just shrug your shoulders. Holladay World is made up of a wide range of individuals who are smart, energetic and opportunistic. The Entrepreneurial spirit was instilled in us by Wallace F. Holladay Sr. and continues to be embraced by John Phair and the current group of Partners and employees. Uncertainty brings opportunity. We just have to be willing to change and look for the openings that will give us the edge to continue on for another 60 years. For people who live and bleed Holladay, it gives us the opportunity to start writing the history for the next phase of Holladay World.

For those of you who read the first blog, I wrote, you may remember my comments about IU Basketball and the preseason ranking. Well, we are now into the regular season and the HOOSIERS are at the top of the rankings. After the game they played against North Carolina on Tuesday, it looks like they belong at the top. That too is uncertain, but for now, GO IU.


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