May 26, 2015
By Neal Tepel
New York, NY – The de Blasio administration is calling for changes in state law to increase contracting opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises [M/WBEs]. The city has already increased contract awards to M/WBE by 57 percent over the previous fiscal year, bringing total awards in the last fiscal year to $690 million, and recently announced a commitment to award more than $16 billion to M/WBE businesses over the next 10 years.
“We are committed to expanding economic opportunity to New Yorkers in every community, and we have diligently worked to increase awards to our city’s Minority and Women-Owned Businesses,” Mayor de Blasio said. “There is still more work to be done to expand opportunities for all our city’s entrepreneurs, and we will use every tool possible to ensure our city’s M/WBEs flourish and thrive.”
The city is seeking changes in state law to spur more opportunities for M/WBEs. The changes include parity with the state to raise thresholds for discretionary spending. New York State is permitted to engage in small-purchase discretionary spending with M/WBEs up to $200,000, while the city is only allowed moderate discretion to do so for purchases up to $100,000. The city wants the same authority as the state – allowing for small-purchase discretionary spending to M/WBEs up to the $200,000 threshold.
“For too long, minority and women owned businesses have struggled against discrimination, exclusion, an opaque process, and insufficient access to capital and legal guidance,” said Public Advocate Letitia James. “I am heartened that the administration is taking these steps to reform the contracting process and increase opportunities for minority vendors to do business with the city, but there is still more to be done. When we uplift women and communities of color, we uplift our entire City.”