COUNCIL BLUFFS, IOWA (KMTV) — It has been about four months since the pandemic began, and still, all throughout Council Bluffs and Pottawattamie County, businesses are trying to navigate through it.
On Wednesday, Congresswoman Cindy Axne came to Council Bluffs, and asked small business owners what else can the government do to help them out.
She heard from a variety of perspectives.
When owner of Bayliss Park Massage Therapy Kristi Moore had to close her doors, she tried applying for the Payment Protection Program.
“It was hard, trying to get through all the paper work, page, after page. And then there was a couple of times I actually got kicked out of the webpage, so after I think the third try, I was like, nope done,” says Moore.
That was the story of many Iowa business owners, who say the loads of paperwork and confusing guidelines didn’t allow them to get the forgivable loans.
Congresswoman Axne is now pushing her own bill. The Prioritized Payment Protection Program Act would send money to businesses, even if they already got a loan, as long as they have 100 or fewer employees and lost 50 percent of their revenue.
“We’re going to make sure that this doesn’t go into the hands of folks that are able to make it but to those who really won’t be able to make it if we don’t give them some influx,” says Axne.
Axne also says businesses will get more instruction in the future.
“Unfortunately businesses that got the funding didn’t get it, and communication was part of that problem and we’re fixing that,” says Axne.
Anne Risney Morgan, owner of Risney Photo and Design, called the first small business loans a godsend, and welcomes more help.
“It was killer awesome, would love to see another one. That would be great. I would love to take that money because that has really kept me afloat,” says Risney Morgan.
Axne says she’ll be taking the concerns back to Washington, with hopes of a bi-partisan bill that includes more unemployment help and another stimulus check.
“Again, we need to make sure that gets into the right hands. There were some folks that received it that didn’t need it as much as others,” says Axne.
Interim Council Bluffs Chamber of Commerce President, Tom Hanafan, outlined other business owner concerns, including customer confidence in coming into stores, which in turn, is hurting business cash flow.