"It does take a while to get the industry re-started," said Peter Kelley of the American Wind Energy Alliance, which has tracked thousands of layoffs caused by credit uncertainty. The industry fears more turmoil because the new credit expires in December, he said.
"We continue to tell everyone on Capitol Hill you need long-term policies to get long-term growth in the wind industry," Kelley said.
The budget battle's most visible impact in Colorado has been on its many defense contractors, ranging from giants like Lockheed Martin to smaller firms like Brown's Navsys.
In 2011, Obama and Republicans could not agree on cutting the deficit enough to convince the House to raise the debt limit. They did agree to $1 trillion in cuts over 10 years that ultimately kicked in March 1 if they couldn't find other savings and revenues. Half those cuts affect the military. The combined pall of looming cuts and month-to-month budgeting has frozen the civilian defense industry.
"No real investments are going on," said Brad Michelson, a vice president at Infinity Systems Engineering, a Colorado Springs-based government contractor in engineering, intelligence and information technology.
At Navsys, five of its 20 remaining workers have shifted to a four-day workweek. Navsys has won competitive bids, Brown says, but the money won't come because the budget limbo has delayed payments. Brown is focusing more on commercial contracts.
"I'm not holding my breath that this problem is going to get fixed," she said.
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