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Cuomo signs law reauthorizing MWBE contractor involvement in state contracts

By Eric Reinhardt

Date:

ALBANY, N.Y. — Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week has signed into law a measure that reauthorizes the minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBE) program for five more years.

The law seeks to “ensure ongoing and meaningful participation of MWBEs in contracted state projects,” Cuomo’s office said in a Monday news release.

The law’s reauthorization includes “enhancements” that will enable even more MWBEs to participate in and benefit from the program, Cuomo’s office contends.       

The MWBE program is designed to make New York’s economy “more inclusive” by requiring MWBE participation in state contracts, Cuomo’s office said. It was due to expire at the end of 2019.

The reauthorization extends the program until 2024 and amends the law to make it easier for more MWBEs to participate and to give all participating businesses “greater benefits.”

New terms

The new terms include extending the term of MWBE certification from 3 years to 5 years.  They also increase the agency and authority discretionary-purchasing threshold from $200,000 to $500,000 “without a formal competitive process,” per Cuomo’s news release.

In addition, the new terms also include increasing the personal net-worth cap from $3.5 million to $15 million to make more businesses eligible; authorizing the division of MWBE to organize outreach events, training and educational opportunities for MWBE firms across the state; and establishing a workforce-diversity program that requires state agencies overseeing construction projects to utilize a diverse workforce.

The new provisions will support the continued growth of the MWBE program, which has resulted in over $13 billion in contracts awarded to MWBEs since 2011.

The extension and expansion of the MWBE law is “enhanced” by the signing of two additional bills, Cuomo’s office contends.

The one measure authorizes the Dormitory Authority of the State of New York to create a four-year procurement pilot program to further expand contracting opportunities for MWBEs and small businesses. The second measure authorizes an increase of the threshold of New York City’s discretionary-purchasing authority from $150,000 to $500,000 making such threshold consistent with the state’s increased authority.

MWBE program recent history

In 2010, state-contract spending with MWBE firms totaled less than $100 million and MWBE utilization was just under 10 percent, Cuomo’s office said. In 2014, Cuomo set a goal of 30 percent MWBE utilization in all state contracts, and during the 2017-2018 fiscal year, the state “came closer to that goal than ever before” by reaching a utilization rate of 28.62 percent, or $2.5 billion in state contracting dollars.

Contact Reinhardt at ereinhardt@cnybj.com

Image credit: New York State website

 

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