Small businesses are our largest employer and serve as the engine that drives our economy. Yet small business owners have been forced to confront the dire consequences of a deep recession head-on – stretching reserves to meet payroll, struggling to maintain inventory and making hard choices to avoid furloughs, layoffs and bankruptcy.
One of the advantages of representing Maryland is that Congressman Sarbanes is able to return home every evening and get out of the Washington bubble – an opportunity not afforded to most Members of Congress. He is able to do his job much better because he is in daily contact with the people he serves in the Congress.
During his time in Congress he has focused his ongoing listening tour on small businesses throughout Maryland's Third District. He has visited more than 100 businesses on the Main Streets of Maryland. Through these visits he has learned a tremendous amount about his District and the local economy and has applied this knowledge to the work he's doing in Congress.
One theme the Congressman heard over and over again from small business owners was that access to capital remains a challenge for them. He was troubled to hear that loan programs established at the Small Business Administration (SBA) were virtually inaccessible to local businesses in need. For example, the microloan program, which was designed to help mitigate the credit freeze by providing small loans to small businesses, had not gotten off the ground because no community-based micro lenders have been established in Central Maryland
In response, he pressed the SBA to find a lender for this area and they have now certified a non-profit micro lender to offer these loans products to small businesses in our region. He has been working with the SBA and the City of Baltimore to establish additional local non-profit lenders in our region to grow the micro lending program so these businesses have access to capital as intended.
Congress has approved the HIRE Act, a law giving businesses payroll tax relief for hiring new workers— immediately exempting businesses and other employers from paying the employer's share of the Social Security tax on newly-hired workers and offering an additional $1000 tax credit to employers that retain these new hires for at least 52 weeks.
These are important steps but we still have a way to go to get our economy back on track. The input Congressman Sarbanes receives from the small business community has been invaluable for him as he considers economic policy in the Congress.
Providing Help With Small Businesses Development
Maryland Small Business Development Center
The Maryland Small Business Development Center (MDSBDC) Network provides sound advice, counseling and support to entrepreneurs and small to mid-size businesses across the state. The Network links private enterprise, government, higher education and local economic development organizations to provide management, training and technical assistance to Maryland’s small businesses.
Central Maryland Office
(Baltimore City, Baltimore, Anne Arundel and Howard Counties)
Toll Free: 877.421.0830
Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Program
The Baltimore-Washington corridor is also home to a large community of small businesses that compete for the vast array of government contracts awarded by the federal government each year. The federal government has set a goal of awarding 23% of all contracts to small businesses. The Maryland Procurement Technical Assistance Program assists Maryland small businesses in how to do business with federal, state, and local government agencies.
Statewide Procurement Assistance
The Tax Incentives Assistance Project is sponsored by a coalition of public interest nonprofit groups, government agencies, and other organizations in the energy efficiency field. It is designed to give businesses information they need to make use of the federal income tax incentives for energy efficient products and technologies.
The SBA helps Americans start, build and grow businesses. Through an extensive network of field offices and partnerships with public and private organizations, SBA delivers its services to people across Maryland and throughout the United States.
SBA Answer Desk
Baltimore District Office
City Crescent Building, 6th Floor
10 South Howard Street
Baltimore, Maryland 21201
Reforming The Tax Code To Help Small Business Grow
Extension of Bonus Depreciation
Companies are eligible for a 50% bonus deduction on depreciable equipment purchased through 2009—an incentive for business investment, expansion and growth.
Extension of Enhanced Small Business Expensing
Small Businesses may deduct the value of certain capital expenses during the year in which they were made, instead of over time through depreciation. Through the end of 2010, small businesses may deduct up to $125,000 per year from annual income, with a total cap of $500,000.
5-year Carry-Back of Net Operating Losses for Small Businesses
Small businesses may carry back net operating losses for the five years prior to the year that the loss arises, cutting small business tax liability and keeping capital in the hands of small business owners. Due to the initial success of this program, Congress extended it through Tax Year 2009 and expanded the number of businesses eligible.
Temporary Small Business Estimated Tax Payment Relief
Certain small businesses qualify for a reduction in estimated tax payments for 2009.
Encouraging Innovation Through Small Business Grants
Small Business Innovation Research and Small Business Technology Transfer
The U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) Office of Technology administers the Small Business Innovation Research Program and the Small Business Technology Transfer Program. Through these two competitive programs, SBA ensures that the nation's small, high-tech, innovative businesses are a significant part of the federal government's research and development efforts--awarding $2 billion to small high-tech businesses.
Boosting Small Business Lending
The microloan program is designed to help mitigate the credit freeze by providing small loans to small businesses. Unfortunately, no community-based micro lenders have been established in Central Maryland, denying small businesses access to these loans a full twelve months later.
In response, I’ve written to SBA Administrator Karen Mills asking her to move quickly to establish lenders in our region to provide these businesses access to capital as intended under ARRA. My staff is working with SBA officials and local government officials in Baltimore to establish a non-profit intermediary to get this initiative back on track in Maryland.
7(a) Loan Guarantee Program
The 7(a) loan program provides capital to establish a new business or to assist in the operation, acquisition or expansion of an existing business. To ensure small businesses have access to 7(a) loans, the Small Business Administration has reduced or eliminated the fees associated with this lending program.
504 Loan Program
The 504 loan program provides capital for fixed asset projects, such as purchasing land and improvements; construction of new facilities; modernizing, renovating or converting existing facilities; or purchasing machinery and equipment. To ensure small businesses have access to 504 loans, the Small Business Administration has reduced or eliminated the fees associated with this lending program.
Business Stabilization Program
The Business Stabilization Program allows for principal and interest deferrals for up to six months on qualifying SBA loans for viable small businesses that are experiencing immediate financial hardship.
Placing a “Green Thumbprint” on Small Business
Renewable Energy Development Tax Credits
These incentives include a three-year extension of the production tax credit (PTC) for electricity derived from wind (through 2012) and for electricity derived from biomass, geothermal, hydropower, landfill gas, waste-to-energy, and marine facilities (through 2013).
Energy Efficiency Tax Credits
Extending and expanding important tax credits through 2010 for purchases of energy efficient appliances and other goods— including new furnaces, energy-efficient windows and doors, or insulation— will assist small businesses like the air conditioning and heating contractors who install heating and cooling equipment.