Md. gov outlines plans to help small businesses

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Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley outlined plans Monday to help small businesses and increase jobs by expanding access to credit and providing businesses with incentives to hire the unemployed.

The governor discussed three initiatives he will bring before lawmakers in the upcoming session of the Maryland General Assembly, which begins in January.

O’Malley wants to simplify the loan approval process for small businesses and expand access to credit by creating the Maryland Small Business Credit Recovery Program. O’Malley’s plan would offer a loan guaranty on small business deals through the Maryland Department of Business and Economic Development’s current loan guaranty program.

Under the Maryland Industrial Development Financing Authority Program, banks will be able to apply for up to a $50,000 guaranty, and a program will be developed to offer a 48-hour approval turnaround on loans needed up to a $250,000 guaranty, the O’Malley administration said.

The initiative could leverage up to $64 million in new private sector lending for small businesses, the administration said.

The governor’s plan also would create a $3,000 tax credit for businesses for each unemployed worker hired. The initiative would last for one year and include a $20 million cap.

O’Malley, a Democrat, also announced plans to introduce legislation to address a rate increase for small businesses to the Unemployment Trust Fund.

Copyright 2009 The Associated Press.