"Fiscal cliff" wrangling leaves businesses in doubt

(CBS News) LOS ANGELES - All of the uncertainty over the "fiscal cliff" negotiations is not sitting well with business owners. It's tough to run a company when you have no idea what's going to happen in Washington.

Joanne Weinoe is running the numbers. Her payroll is due this week. Although she now has a hint of what taxes to withhold from her dozen employees, that's only half her worry. The unresolved spending cuts are the other.

"It's very uncertain, and very un-nerving, and very ... it causes a lot of anxiety and a lot of lack of sleep," Weinoe said.

She's the president of Golden State Magnetic and Penetrant, a $2 million a year Los Angeles company that inspects, cleans and paints high-tech aircraft and aerospace parts -- everything from fighter jets to Mars Rovers.

Any cuts in defense spending could mean cuts in her business too, and the waiting has her on a fiscal cliff of her own.

Full coverage of "fiscal cliff" negotiations

She said another few months of this "could potentially impact the entire year. It doesn't allow you to make any plans or focus on what future expansion or growth or anything is. It could shoot a hole in the whole year."

California has the most workers associated with the defense industry. In 2010, the numbers topped out at more than 160,000 employees. So the wrangling in Washington has a huge impact here.

Weinoe called the wrangling "incredibly unfair, because they have a responsibility, and they're not taking care of it."

Weinoe's company laid off workers during the recession, but things were starting to pick up. December, she said, was a very good month, but the uncertainty will likely put her right back where she started - a problem she says, that was avoidable from the start.

  • Lee Cowan

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