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Governor seeks changes to statewide MWBE program
Published on 02/06/2018

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo recently announced a package of proposed legislative changes aimed at expanding the state's minority- and woman-owned business enterprise (MWBE) program.

These proposed changes follow on previous reforms and goals Cuomo has set for MWBE contracting in New York State, including, in 2014, raising the state contracting MWBE participation goal from 20 percent to 30 percent, and, in 2017, launching the MWBE Business Growth Accelerator and Certification Assistance programs.

"In New York, we know that our economy is strongest when everyone is empowered to participate, which is why we continue to work to increase access and opportunities to success for minority and women owned businesses to strengthen and diversify our economy," Governor Cuomo said. "These actions will break down barriers to success and empower these business owners to help fuel our economy and move this great state forward."

Foremost in the initiatives included in the proposed legislation is a change to how MWBE contracting goals are applied to projects within the state. Currently, the state MWBE contracting goals are only applied to projects issued at the state level, by state agencies and authorities. However, Cuomo proposed to apply these participation goals to all contracts at the local or municipal level (such, as where the agencies are counties or towns) that are funded with state dollars, increasing the pool of total statewide contracts for which MWBEs can be counted towards such goals.

The package of proposals also includes the creation of a Workforce Diversity Program which would establish workforce participation goals for non-MWBE contractors in employing women and minority group members; raising the discretionary purchasing threshhold (the project cost under which the state can engage in "no-bid" contracts with MWBEs) to $400,000; and providing "bidding credits" to MWBEs to provide them with a boost in the competitive bidding process.

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