LARGO, Md. -- Many small business owners in Prince George's County are hurting in this tough economy and want to know how the president's stimulus package can help.
U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D.-Md.) heard many concerns from small business owners during a forum he held Friday at the Prince George's County Economic Development Corporation offices in Largo.
The biggest issues for many of the 200 business owners: many are having trouble getting loans and are finding it harder to land government contracts. Cardin told them the stimulus package will help with both problems.
Cardin explained that the stimulus package has provisions to make Small Business Administration loans less expensive by waiving certain fees. Also, Cardin said there are commitments from the Obama administration to help free up the credit market for small businesses.
"Making the loans less expensive and freeing up credit market for small business can really help get money into their small business," Cardin said.
A common complaint at the forum was that banks just aren't lending enough money to help businesses start up or grow. One man who owns a transporation service said he had trouble getting a loan even though he landed a $35 million government contract.
"I was invoicing half a million dollars a month to the government and the bank still wouldn't give me a loan, saying I was not bank friendly," complained Darnell Lee of W&T Travel Services.
Cardin also explained that the stimulus package should spur a lot of government contract work, which is a big focus of business in the county. Business owners complain that there just aren't as many of those contracts going out these days.
Right after the meeting Cardin headed back to the Hill and get ready to vote on the stimulus package. He planned to vote in favor of the bill.