Prince George’s And Baltimore Businesses Lost Out In Pandemic Grant Program, Data Shows
by Rachel Baye
Published June 23 in WYPR
Excerpt: In March 2020, not long after Maryland businesses were forced to close because of the pandemic, Gov. Larry Hogan announced grant and loan programs to help small businesses.
New data, presented during a meeting with Comptroller Peter Franchot Wednesday, reveals disparities in how that money was distributed.
The Maryland Department of Commerce awarded 14,286 grants of up to $10,000 each, totalling nearly $141 million, and 1,654 loans of up to $50,000 each, totalling about $75.3 million. To qualify, businesses could have no more than 50 employees.
The largest share of grants — 18.6%, or $26.2 million — went to businesses in Montgomery County, according to data from the state Department of Commerce presented Wednesday.
By comparison, Prince George’s County, the state’s second most-populous county, is home to roughly the same number of qualified businesses as Montgomery County, but received less than half as much money — $12.5 million or 8.9% of the state’s grants.
Likewise, Montgomery County businesses received 15.6% of the loans, or $11.7 million, compared to Prince George’s County businesses, which received 8.6% of the loans, or $6.6 million.
The Baltimore area saw a similar phenomenon. Baltimore County businesses received $22 million in grants, or 15.7% of the state’s total, and just under $11 million in loans, or 14.6% of the total. Baltimore City had more qualified businesses by the Department of Commerce’s measures, but received just under $14 million in grants, or 9.9% of the total, and $8 million in loans, or 10.6% of the total.
“We’re concerned about those trends, particularly because Prince George’s County and Baltimore City, two majority-minority jurisdictions, have really borne the brunt of the public health and economic consequences of the pandemic,” Franchot said.