Stimulus may help small South MS businesses

By Danielle Thomas - bio | email

GULFPORT, MS (WLOX) - Within days President Barack Obama is expected to green light a $789 billion stimulus package. On Wednesday, key members of the House and Senate agreed on a compromise plan that they say will create 3.5 million jobs. How many, if any, of those jobs will be here in South Mississippi is yet to be seen.

Almost any small business owner you talk to agrees that right now is a difficult time to be a small business owner. Parts of the stimulus package are designed to provide some relief.

Broadus Furniture in Gulfport has been in business since the 1930s, but in the last year the owner says business has been slow.

"A year ago it was very busy. Right now I'm not very busy. I'm just holding my own," said Moore. "You have to be careful with your cash flow. Watch everything, and try to save."

James McClain is a retired businessman and a volunteer with SCORE, a group that offers free counseling to small business owners.

"Small business are having a hard time getting money to finance their small businesses," said McClain. "The stimulus package, a part of that is to help to loosen up credit so that small businesses, as well as individuals, can get money."

McClain lists easing the credit crunch as one of four key parts of the stimulus package that will help small business and encourage hiring. The others are raising the limit on how much owners can write off in taxes for capital expenses, making it easier to write off losses in profits, and tax credits for making building more energy efficient.

"When you reduce the expenses a little bit, I think it gives you an opportunity to spend a little bit more on advertising to bring in more business," McClain said. "If you need to hire another sales person, maybe you're a little bit more able to do that. I do think it helps."

Ruth Moore says if her expenses decrease or her customers increase, she'll use the extra money to expand.

"I would get more product and also rent a container to put the product in to sell," she said. "I would hire more help and I wouldn't have to work so hard. "

James McClain says a tax credit designed for hiring young people should also help small businesses.