In the year 2000, when G.W. Bush became president, my husband's business made $105,000 gross. Dumping fees for septage was $.04 per gallon. Gas, which is another big expense for us was around $1.75 per gallon here in NYS. The lower petroleum products prices made the purchase of the PVC pipe we used on a job not quite the burden it is today. We were saving money for a down payment on a house and we had the money to pay all our bills on time during the winter month shut down. By 2004 that had changed.
By 2004 the gross income of the business had dropped to $61,000 gross. Dumpage had gone up to $.08 per gallon and gas was around $2.23. The price of pipe and fittings had doubled and our bank statement was showing the stress since we had to start using savings to make the bill payments. Nothing we did to increase revenues made much difference since we weren't the only ones hurting. We could demand higher prices for our work but people couldn't pay them so the maintenance septic tank pump outs that are the bread and butter of our business dropped off.
In 2008 we hit an all time low of $39,000 gross. Dumpage remained steady at 8 cents but gas prices hit $3.50 and unemployment began to go up. We thought about ending the business but Hubby didn't think he'd get a job anyplace and with a business he at least had something to do even if he couldn't make any money. So we tightened our belt and kept on, hoping that something would change and we'd catch a break.
Last year we finally started seeing an increase in the gross. We went up to $50,000. The problem was that expenses to run the truck had gone out of sight and that was the first year we went in the hole. It was only by $500 but it was enough. Especially since Hubby had taken early retirement and cost himself a decent Social Security check. It saved us when Hubby was out of work due to his surgery but it isn't going to be much help when he finally has to retire.
The GOP and Tea Party would like to convince you that it's all the fault of higher taxes. I as the wife of a person who owns a business will tell you what is at fault and you can believe it or not. The problem is the price of oil and the price of everything we use that is made from petroleum. Add to that the higher price of tires, truck parts, insurance, advertising and materials. We are broke.
It didn't help that the GOP sequester is hampering the company I work for. Their ability to get new clients to keep our hours up has been cut by that. Our area never fully recovered from Clinton's closing of military bases. In an area of maybe 200,000 population he put 6000 people out of work. Despite efforts to rebuild, our unemployment rate in this county is still at 10%. There are jobs, there are no unemployed with the skills to fill them
We have two aviation rebuilding companies located at what is now the Griffiss Business and Technical Park. They want to expand but there are no knowledgeable fully trained aviation repair people available here. We have a wealth of computer tech folks out of work and 0 jobs for them. Many of them have gone to work for the local casino who pays little more than minimum wage unless you're trained as a dealer, croupier or pit boss. We have Walmart, and other retail positions and they don't pay very much so anyone working for them needs help financially. They aren't likely to do the septic tank maintenance since they can't afford it which leaves Hubby with no way to make any money from the business.
Today I used the New York State Official Health Plan Marketplace to see what I could afford for health insurance. Hubby has Medicare and I will on September 2014, but unless I want the feds to keep any tax return I qualify for, I have to have insurance before Feb. 15th. So I registered and answered all the questions. When I got to the point where I could begin to compare insurance policies I was told I couldn't shop since I qualified for Medicaid. We are at 109% of the poverty level, a place we wouldn't be if the Republicans and Tea Party members of our Congress had done something besides focus on "no new taxes" and 41 attempts at repealing the ACA. Like maybe if they'd taken a good look at Big Oil and the high prices their corporate welfare creates, we might have an economy that is improved instead of creeping along at a snails pace?