Disaster activist continues to help small businesses
“2001 was the year of the first flood, Hurricane Allison. In 2015, they saw the Memorial Day flood. The following year, 2016, was marked by the Tax Day flooding, and in the same year Three Brothers Bakery suffered an electrical fire just before Christmas. We lost everything we had prepared to sell. We had customers but no products. “
In 2017, Hurricane Harvey swept through much of Houston.
“Harvey’s collateral damage, we lost our kosher license, and in 2019 we had Tropical Storm Imelda, a federally declared disaster resulting in the loss of some revenue,” she said.
“It was October, and just as we were hitting our pace again, March of this year introduced us all to the coronavirus pandemic, known as COVID-19. After the first order was issued at home, we saw a huge drop (from 50 to 60%) in our income. “
“We never closed because, as bakers, we are considered ‘essential staff’, and because we were fortunate enough to have the media and stories aired on local television and radio. , we were able to survive, ”Janice said.
But today, his thoughts are not his own headaches, but rather the nearly 70-year-old bakery in nearby Victoria, where the owners have permanently closed their shop. They noted previous disasters as the reason for the closure.
Due to the pandemic, closures are happening across the country on a daily basis, and CNBC has speculated that 7.4 million more small businesses will never reopen.
While small businesses account for 14% of the country’s gross domestic product, a CNBC survey of more than 5,000 small businesses found that most employed fewer than 20 workers.
As Janice explained: “After working with an assistant to Senator Ted Cruz, on June 30, US Senator Cruz; Marco Rubio, R-Fla .; Shelley Moore Capito, RW.Va .; and Thom Tillis, RN.C., introduced the Pandemic Taxpayer Loan Interest Remission Act (LIFT UP), legislation that would expand eligibility for debt forgiveness under the Act. CARES to small businesses that have received disaster loans from the Small Business Administration in the past.
“In Texas, there are many small businesses still trying to recover from Hurricane Harvey and rebuild themselves and have taken out disaster loans from the SBA to do so,” said Cruz. “Providing loan forgiveness to these business owners will go a long way in easing the burden of another loan due to the pandemic. By empowering businesses, we will be able to revive our economy. “
Senator Capito agreed, “There is no question that small businesses across America have been affected during this pandemic,” she said. “However, many businesses were already recovering from other setbacks, before COVID-19, which only added to their burden.”
But this isn’t the Juckers’ first rodeo in Washington with lawmakers. “We’ve been lobbying our lawmakers for years,” Janice said. “We went to talk about the impact of the floods, had 11 meetings with lawmakers, including Cruz’s office, where we shared our story with his assistant… and the Senator stores in our bakery.
With her Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Businesses group, Janice attended a virtual fly-in in DC with 2,000 other small business owners, June 9-10. During this event, Janice lobbied local representatives, including Rep. Lizzie Fletcher, Cornyn’s assistants and a call with Cruz, as well as 200 other business owners.
After several conversations with the senator’s office, the LIFT UP bill was completed, proposing the same terms of the CARES Act, retroactive to disaster loans from January 1, 2015 to 2019. These are government loans,
“But, we’re right at the start line,” Janice said.
Without a doubt, it took a village of support for the bill, including the Texas Retail Association, the Texas Restaurant Association, the National Association of Women Business Owners, and the National Federation of Independent Business.
“Now we have to get to the finish line,” she said.
Those who want to help pass the bill can call their representatives. A useful tool is a 2 minute video:
After the LIFT UP bill is passed, Janice plans to start working to get approval for emergency bridging loans in the event of another disaster in Texas. This accidental activist said: “Once I started doing this job, I found I liked it.