Cuomo To Lift Number of MWBE Contracts To 30%

Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today unveiled another proposal ahead of his 2016 agenda. This time he vowed to increase opportunity for minority- and women-owned business enterprises across New York State.

In 2014, Governor Cuomo established a goal of 30 percent for New York’s MWBE state contract utilization – the highest goal of any state in the nation. However, under state law, that goal only applies to contracts issued by state agencies and authorities; it does not apply to state funding given to localities such as cities, counties, towns, villages and school districts, which amounts to approximately $65 billion annually. This year, the Governor will advance legislation addressing this disconnect by expanding the MWBE goal setting to localities and entities that subcontract with those localities. Doing so will leverage the largest pool of state funding in history to combat systemic discrimination and create new opportunities for MWBE participation.

“We must extend our MWBE program to all state dollars in order to ensure fairness in economic opportunity,” said Governor Cuomo. “This proposal will help minority and women-owned businesses compete for another $65 billion in state contracts. This is about continuing New York’s legacy as a national leader on economic justice, and I am proud to be leading the fight again this year.”

Since taking office in 2011, Governor Cuomo has raised the statewide MWBE goal from 10 to 20 percent and signed an executive order establishing a statewide MWBE Team to explore ways to eliminate barriers and expand the participation of these enterprises in state contracting.

Governor Cuomo’s call to apply ambitious MWBE contracting goals to all funding for municipalities is a game changer that will reverberate across New York State. Money talks, and I am optimistic that this latest action will help New York City reach better MWBE targets and result in a stronger economy for all,” Public Advocate Tish James.

Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz, Jr. hailed Monday’s announcement by Governor Cuomo as welcome news. “As a member of the Regional Economic Development Council, I’ve worked with the governor on a number of MWBE-related issues. This includes including streamlining MWBE certification standards between the City and State, expanding government MWBE procurement goals and greater access to SBA loans,” said Diaz.

Diaz called for a consistent and coherent MWBE program at all levels of government, and lauded Governor Cuomo’s latest proposal as an excellent step in that direction.  “If a contract is state-funded, then the MWBE standards should be the same regardless of whether it is administered by a state agency, authority or the City of New York,” Diaz added.

During Governor’s tenure, more than 4,300 MWBEs have been certified, more than 3,600 have been recertified, and more than $6.3 billion in state contracts have been secured by women or minority-owned businesses. According to the Cuomo administration, MWBE certification and utilization on state contracts has more than doubled in just five years.

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