Over 3,000 Kansas small business applicants left without help, recycle business owner urges government to take action

Capitol Bureau

TOPEKA, Kan. (KSNT) – Some small business owners in Kansas are struggling to make ends meet. And now, one business owner is taking action.

Brian Ramey is the owner of Ramey’s recycling, a small Kansas business that helps recycle trash in Osage City. Ramey started the business two years ago when his wife became ill. He uses it as one of the main sources of income to take care of her, and support his family. But when the Coronavirus pandemic hit, business slowed down, and he had to find other ways to make money.

“In order for me to be able to survive, I had to sell off some of my equipment and everything to get the bills paid,” Ramey says.

He says he could barely afford to keep up with his expenses, so he applied for relief through the state. After weeks of not hearing back, Ramey tried to follow up. That’s when he heard some bad news.

“Myself and 1,000 plus other small businesses that were approved, or could be approved, for the money was not able to get anything because of the money running out.”

Ramey is one of more than three thousand applicants that have not received federal money the state earmarked for struggling businesses.

The Kansas Department of Commerce has received more than 5,000 requests from small businesses for federal Coronavirus relief.

Officials say the overwhelming demand left them with more than they can handle.

“Having to stand up to programs in a very short period of time, provided a lot of challenges to our organization and to our state,” Bill Murphy, the Deputy Secretary of Business Development at the Kansas Department of Commerce said.

The federal government sent Kansas more than one billion dollars to help with coronavirus relief.

$400 million was sent to counties to address local needs. Two of the areas that received the most funds include Public Health, which received $101 million, and Economic Development, which received $79 million.

$36 million was earmarked to help struggling businesses. The state distributed that money to 1,900 businesses based on a first come, first serve basis. And, it’s left more than 3,000 businesses, like Ramey’s, without anything, and hoping the government will do more.

“It’s one of the things that we need that help from the government, from Governor Kelly, from the legislature here in Kansas, to allocate more money,” Ramey says.

The state is working to decide how to distribute $75 million that’s left from the federal government.

That decision is expected in the next few weeks.

To learn more about the state of Kansas’ relief efforts, you can visit the SPARK Recovery Office website by clicking here.

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