Laurel, MD — U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), a member of the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee, visited Main Street in Laurel, Maryland, stopping at the Laurel Meat Market and Rainbow Florist & Delectables for a firsthand account of how the economy is doing. Senator Cardin also received a briefing on Laurel’s economic development progress from Mayor Craig Moe and other local elected and city officials, as well as community and business leaders.
“My message to all Marylanders is to ‘Buy Local.’ Small businesses are the driving force behind job creation in America, but they need our support to drive our economic recovery. We can all play a part in growing America’s economy by giving small businesses on every Main Street a helping hand,” said Senator Cardin. “Laurel is a city doing great things to bring jobs to our state. I continue to be impressed at the level of investment and opportunity generated by Mayor Moe and local officials. Our national and regional economies are moving forward in the right direction but the recovery is still fragile. I am committed to do all I can at the federal level to ensure the recovery reaches all our local businesses. We need to help our entrepreneurs not just survive, but thrive.”
“We are very appreciative of the opportunity to host Senator Cardin. He has always made himself available to hear our concerns and assist the City of Laurel when needed. Today’s visit reaffirmed Senator Cardin’s commitment to small businesses and economic development in our city. As mayor, I have seen firsthand how Senator Cardin takes the federal government’s impact on local communities into consideration,” Mayor Moe said. “We applaud his efforts to encourage Marylanders to ‘buy local’ and support our small business community.”
Maryland is home to almost 517,000 small businesses. Employing 1.1 million workers, they represent 97.6 percent of all employers and 52.1 percent of the entire private-sector workforce.
Senator Cardin has used his position on the Senate Small Business and Entrepreneurship Committee to help bring jobs to Maryland by supporting our local small business community.
- He has been a strong supporter and official cosponsor of “Small Business Saturday,” urging consumers to shop at local, independently owned businesses on the Saturday between Black Friday and Cyber Monday after Thanksgiving. In 2011, he recorded a public service announcement encouraging shoppers to participate.
- Senator Cardin was a cosponsor of the Small Business Jobs Act of 2010 that was signed into law 9/27/10. It provided funding for the extension of increased guarantees and reduced fees in SBA’s two largest loan programs. He also cosponsored the specific provision extending the higher loan limits on the SBA loan programs. The new law provided $12 billion in tax cuts for small businesses and helped increase access to private capital.
- He successfully fought for budget increase the SBA’s budget. The FY12 Consolidated Appropriations bill contains $919 million for SBA – $189 million more than FY11. Small business loans received an increase of $123 million. The disaster loan program also receives an increase of $72 million to maintain operations. (+$137M in 111th Congress)
- Senator Cardin helped provide tax credits so more small businesses can afford health coverage for employees
- Senator Cardin authored an amendment to the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (ARRA) to increase limits for the SBA Surety Bond program from $2 million to $5 million and raise state and local sales caps to be on par with federal caps and cosponsored Small Business Lending Fund. He continues to work to renew this successful program.
- Senator Cardin worked with the SBA and Prince George’s County to establish a small business Africa Trade Office in the County. The office serves as a catalyst for small businesses in the county to develop trade relationships with businesses in Africa.
- Senator Cardin is leading the effort to pressure federal and state agencies to meet and exceed current goals for small businesses loans and contracts. He fought for mandatory small business training for federal contract officials.
- He cosponsored legislation (S. 493) to reauthorize the Small Business Innovation Research (SBIR) program, which is designed to increase the participation of small, high technology firms in the federal R&D endeavor. The legislation would increase the federal agency set-aside amount for small businesses from 2.5% to 3.5%. The bill would also reauthorize and improve the Small Business Technology Transfer (STTR) program. The SBIR/STTR program was successfully reauthorized by Congress in December 2011 for six additional years.
- He cosponsored, Small Business Contract Revitalization Act of 2010 – Designed to maximize contracting opportunities for small businesses and create jobs by requiring agencies to consider small businesses when placing orders on large contracts; Would reduce bundled contracts by reserving more contracts for small business concerns.
- Senator Cardin authored legislation that mandates core training curriculum for federal contracting officials because many small firms have been locked out of competing for valuable federal contracts. Previously, procurement officers haven’t been trained to work with small businesses.