'Fiscal cliff' worries Petaluma small business owner

December 31, 2012 8:09:31 PM PST
One of the people who directly could be affected by the late congressional action to prevent the nation from going over the fiscal cliff is Rochelle Cargile of Petaluma. She runs her own business making and marketing her own brand of salsa. The lack of a deal so far has left her confused and uncertain about the future of her business.

If the nation's so-called 'fiscal cliff' still seems more abstraction than reality, here is a small business owner, perched on the figurative edge.

"I mix it together in a fabulous concoction," said Cargile.

Cargile is the brains and the brawn behind Savannah's Seasoned Salsa, a small business she began in the midst of recession -- a business with plenty to gain or lose, depending on Washington.

"When there are expenses going on that shouldn't be going on, it is time to cut it off. It's time to cut it off," said Cargile. When asked if she is willing to pay more money, she replied, "No, I can't."

For a small business owner like Cargile, part of the frustration of this fiscal cliff is not knowing where it's going to lead. Up? Down? She just wants to know so they can deal with it.

"It's not so big of a deal. It's another showmanship of 'Hey, let's have them look at the shiny object over here, instead of what's really going on,'" said Cargile.

For Cargile, higher taxes would mean no possibility of hiring an employee, more obstructions to building her struggling business. This is a single mother who works 13 hours a day, weeks at a time. And Washington went home for Christmas?

"My daughter needs $5,700 worth of braces or she will lose her three front teeth. I'm not going to pay for someone else who has a cold to go to the emergency room," said Cargile.

Before you find fault with that, consider what Cargile has been through.

"I was addicted to crack cocaine for two years and fell off the face of the earth," said Cargile.

She lost a cleaning business, went to jail, came out with nothing. How does that work into a fiscal cliff scenario?

"I've paid my fines, I paid my fees, I paid my debts and my bills and I got back on my feet. Nobody can tell me it can't be done," said Cargile.

And you thought Washington faced long odds. Yes, those are onions that brought tears to Cargile's eyes -- at least, that's what she told us.