President Clinton's first year in office was one of mixed response from the tire industry, which spent much of 1993 trying to determine what ramifications the administration's proposals would have on their businesses. Some of the most intense debate of the year surrounded the passage of the North American Free Trade Agreement, which divided tire dealers, like much of the nation, into two camps.
Some, particularly Mexican tire importers doing business in the United States, were delighted with the pact, saying it would stimulate business. Others said they would have to wait and see how NAFTA would pan out after it officially went into effect Jan. 1.
The family leave law, signed by President Clinton last Feb. 5, was lauded by supporters as a way of keeping the families intact. But it brought worry to many small businesses, including tire dealerships.
Those with 50 or more employees began grappling with the necessity of allowing employees up to 12 weeks off without pay in the case of births, adoptions or family sickness, while promising them the same or a similar position when they returned to work.
On Oct. 27, President Clinton introduced his health care bill in Congress to the disdain of some dealers who expect to see their operating costs skyrocket should the legislation be approved.
The plan, as it was being discussed last year, would cover all Americans, with employers and employees splitting the cost on an 80/20 basis.
Dealers already providing employee health care insurance were expecting their payments to decrease under the Clinton plan, both in actual dollars and as a percentage of payroll.
President Clinton's tax bill, which Congress barely approved, was looked down upon by many tire dealers and retreaders because of a 4.3-cent gasoline excise tax increase they believed would hurt their businesses.
But other aspects of the tax plan-including increasing the small business depreciable equipment purchases write-off from $10,000 to $17,500-was expected to provide financial benefits for many small dealerships.