A Cedar Rapids lawmaker is warning that hundreds of businesses which closed and then reopened after the floods of 2008 may find it difficult to remain open in the months and years ahead.
Nearly 800 flooded businesses in Cedar Rapids have reopened their doors, but State Senator Rob Hogg says there are sobering statistics in research conducted in other flood-struck cities.
"The data shows that between years one and three after a disaster like this, maybe a third of those businesses will go out of business," Hogg says, "and so we really need to be attentive to their needs to keep ’em going."
Hogg, a Democrat from Cedar Rapids, helped shepherd a variety of flood aid through the 2009 Iowa Legislature. Officials estimate lawmakers provided nearly half a billion dollars worth of state tax credits, grants and direct payments to business owners and disaster victims. But Hogg says there’s more to do in 2010 to help the businesses in communities that are trying to recover from last year’s disaster.
"A lot of businesses go out, borrow money, reopen, but then they’ve either lost the customer base or the debt is too much for them to handle," Hogg says. "These businesses need our help."
Hogg is urging the Rebuild Iowa Council to review research from Grand Forks, North Dakota and New Orleans — two communities that have been ravaged by natural disaster. Grand Forks flooded in 1997 and again this year. In 2005, Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and about 80 percent of the city was flooded.