Friday, October 24, 2008

Entrepreneurs Can Get Their Loan Payments Back

Flexible small business loans, training, and technical assistance are available to start-up businesses in Garret County, MD. The county's Community Action Committee administers a comprehensive Microworks program for those looking to start a business. Microworks makes loans ranging from $500 to $15,000 and offers deferred repayment schedules. A portion of each payment made on time will be put into a reserve fund that will be refunded to the borrower upon total repayment of the loan. Technical assistance and educational services for participants include entrepreneurial training courses and seminars, networking meetings and opportunities, design and production of print materials, marketing and advertising plan creation, tax preparation, financial counseling, business plan preparation, and access to a complete lending library. Contact: Garrett County Community Action Committee - Microworks, 104 E. Center Street, Oakland, MD 21550. 301-334-9431

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Thursday, October 23, 2008

Millions more available from the government during recessions - Matthew Lesko

WASHINGTON -- As the Federal Government doles out billions of dollars to bolster up a faltering economy, many believe the government pool of giveaways has dried up -- but government money expert, Matthew Lesko, is not convinced.

Having closely followed the changing tides in the market for 30 years, Lesko has kept in-step with economic and political change, and understands the implications today's environment actually has on government spending.

"The economy is so bad, that the government will be giving away more money," says Lesko, "It seems like an oxymoron, but it's true."

In 2007, federal programs distributed over $1.8 trillion in grants, direct payments and other monies; a figure which then grew to nearly $2 trillion in 2008, and that fails to include the $1.6 in bailout money, stimulus packages and other dollars added by congress to date.

The answer is semantics.

While government officials are voicing concerns over budget cuts, in reality, their situations are not as harrowing as they may at first appear.

Like many things in Washington, the idea of "Budget Cutting" is not exactly as clear as it may seem to everyday taxpayers. In many cases, officials' budgets are not actually undergoing drastic reductions; rather, they will simply see smaller increases than previously forecasted -- instead of 6% growth, perhaps only 4% will be realized.

Many of these government programs are classified as "entitlements," which means that those who show up and maintain eligibility, are legally entitled to receive help, regardless of the government's debt level. These programs include Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, federal employee and military retirement plans, unemployment compensation, food stamps, agricultural price support and hundreds of others.

With regards to programs that may potentially be in jeopardy of facing reduced funding increases, equilibrium is still typically found. These agencies will do everything they can to trim down extraneous spending without drastically interrupting services offered. "They'll instinctively cut back overhead expenses before reducing the amount of money they give out," Lesko asserts, "during past budget cuts, I've seen agencies go as far as cut out their 800 number just to save a few bucks."

"During hard times less people will apply for programs because they'll believe the 'cry wolf' headlines," says Lesko. If this is the case, then we're looking into an optimistic landscape for government grant seekers -- an ever-increasing giveaway platform and fewer individuals reaching out.

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