Article Discusses Pros and Cons of Baltimore County Loan Forgiveness Program

After questions were raised about a business loan forgiveness program in Baltimore County, a Baltimore Sun article discusses the pros and cons of these programs.

The county makes so-called conditional loans that do not require repayment if certain conditions, such as job creation, are met. The $3.5 million in conditional loans to Caves Valley Partners for the Towson project would rank as the largest ever forgiven; others have provided $300,000 to demolish vacant Pikesville buildings and $40,000 to renovate a bank branch in Randallstown.

Supports say that these loans are good investments and increase the value of property leading to greater property tax revenues. Others have different views.
While backers say such loans help spur development, some lawmakers and business owners are raising questions about the county government’s lending strategy because it lacks written guidelines and isn’t advertised, so few businesses know about it. Critics also say the loans are a waste of public funds and unfairly favor some businesses over others.

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