Most of the nation's small-business owners doubt the recent federal economic stimulus plan will help boost their bottom line, a recent survey found.

In a nationwide study by Pittsburgh-based PNC Financial Services Group, 63 percent of 500 small- and midsize-business owners said they expected "little to no benefit" from the $160 billion tax-relief package, which President Bush signed into law in February.

Among other provisions, the package raises small-business expensing limits from $125,000 to $250,000. It also includes a 50 percent bonus depreciation deduction on business-related purchases.

The survey found retailers and wholesalers were generally more optimistic about the plan's impact than manufacturers and service providers. By region, businesses based in the Midwest were the most pessimistic about the plan, with only eight percent expecting to see any benefits, while those in the South and Northeast were slightly more hopeful.

Stuart Hoffman, chief economist for PNC, felt business owners were being overly critical of the plan, which he called a "fiscal shot of adrenaline to help lift economic and job growth in the latter half of this year."