(Shenandoah) — Iowa Sen. Joni Ernst stopped by a Shenandoah business Tuesday afternoon for a cup of coffee.
Ernst’s last stop took her to Wallin Plumbing and Heating, where she learned how her office helped the company with tax issues and some of the issues their small business and other businesses face in KMAland. Office Manager Jenny Martin tells KMA News that an error involving a change of address prevented the company from receiving employee retention tax credits owed by the IRS through COVID-19 relief dollars.
“We changed the address to a PO Box in the process,” Martin said. “They (the IRS) wouldn’t issue us those checks through the PO Box. I kind of went through all the steps the IRS told me through the mail to do to get it resolved. We couldn’t get it resolved after three months of filing the paperwork. When you called, you couldn’t get through to them. They just said, ‘sorry, we’re too busy to take your call right now.'”
Ernst says Constituent Services Director Emily McKern worked with Wallin to make sure they got the tax credits they were owed. The Red Oak Republican also heard from Martin and Wallin President Jade Hagey about other issues small businesses face, such as finding and keeping qualified employees.
“We have a declining population in our rural areas,” Ernst said. “Finding the right fit for the job or skill and having those capabilities — that’s the challenge. Succession planning, too. Jade mentioned that while he’s not ready to retire now, it’s a concern that in the future he might have someone who can come in and to buy a business — not a big corporation, just someone who would be willing to come in and continue this business.”
Martin says that having the senator’s office help them with their business and then Ernst stopping by for a chat was a pleasure.
“It was really cool,” she said. “I think it’s great to realize that you’re a person with these government officials, that they really take your small business into consideration when they’re making these laws, they’re passing laws and things like that. So yeah, it’s been really great to have her here.”
Ernst hopes to help other small businesses in KMAland through his new position as a senior member of the U.S. Senate Small Business Committee. Among other things, Ernst hopes to pinpoint federal programs that could help rural businesses and perhaps ease burdensome regulations.
“What are ways that we can look at the regulations that surround small businesses,” she said, “and maybe relax some of the regulations on small businesses, because that’s what I hear a lot, which is that they don’t have employees sorting through thousands and thousands of pages , and federal registries and codes — so they’re helping them do that.”
From Shenandoah, Ernst traveled to Atlantic to tour the Cass County Education Center and attend a town hall meeting in Holstein.