Rarely have I talked to so many roofing contractors who have
different opinions about the state of the industry as I have
lately. The adjectives range from "awful" to "improving" to
"fantastic." I think it's a clear demonstration of the uncertainty
we all feel as we work through our fourth year of, well,
The weather, of course, contributes to the confusion. There was
no winter to speak of (not counting Alaska, where it still may be
snowing); there were hundreds of thousands of homes and buildings
damaged by wild wind events in the hail belt; and yet there have
been virtually no big weather events along the Atlantic seaboard
for six years now.
The weather's one thing, and it always will provide a baseline
of work for the roofing industry. The bigger issue, of course, is
what Uncle Sam will do. Tax cuts and changes to the estate tax
expire Dec. 31. Regulations for our new health care program still
are being written—and no one fully understands the
consequences for employers. And then there's the elections, which
will make us all so sick of political ads we'll be throwing up
"unsustainable debt" and "Swiss bank accounts" long before
And the government keeps piling on new regulations, hoping that
will somehow, miraculously, level the hypothetical playing field.
Instead, the pile of regulations simply makes it more difficult for
businesses to operate, makes them less inclined to think about
expanding and creates new opportunities for the...
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