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Hochul signs legislative package to “strengthen” New York’s MWBE program

Gov. Kathy Hochul — seen in this photo from Aug. 11 — on Thursday signed a legislative package that her office says will “strengthen” the state’s program supporting minority- and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs). (Photo credit: Mike Groll via Hochul flickr)

MWBE firms secured nearly $3 billion in state contracts during the FY22 and they’ve secured nearly $24 billion in state contracts since 2011.

“New York draws strength from its diversity, and it is a priority for my administration to ensure that economic opportunities are inclusive and equitable across the state,” Hochul said. “For two years in a row, our nation leading MWBE utilization rate highlights our commitment to providing the necessary tools and resources so that everyone is able to forge pathways to economic success. The continuation of New York’s strong MWBE utilization rate demonstrates the State’s commitment to championing greater equality of economic opportunities for MWBEs.”

The theme for the 12th annual MWBE forum is “Building an Equitable Future,” which highlights New York’s support of MWBE firms to “become more competitive in an ever-changing market.” This year’s hybrid forum offers in-person events and online sessions that bring together MWBEs, state agencies and authorities, prime contractors, and other strategic partners for informational and networking opportunities, Hochul’s office said.



About the legislation

One of the newly signed laws will prevent fraud and abuse within the MWBE program and creates a framework for a fund that will investigate and audit misconduct within the program, Hochul’s office said.

A 2014 report by the New York State Supreme Court Grand Jury revealed that over $10 million intended for honest MWBE had instead gone to fraudulent non-MWBEs, cheating legitimate MWBEs out of contracts. This legislation will ensure the integrity of the program by creating a state MWBE registry, increasing fines for fraud, and establishing a MWBE fund to investigate misconduct.

The package also includes a law that will allow businesses to use funds from the Minority- and Women-Owned Business Development and Lending program to refinance existing debt.

For many business owners, commercial credit cards are the first and only means to access credit, which often means high interest rates on debt. Allowing businesses to refinance that debt under one of the state’s existing micro-loan programs could reduce interest payments to as little as $1,200, saving the business nearly $3,000 a year.

In addition, another new law authorizes New York City to increase award amounts to MBWEs for non-competitive contracts from $500,000 to $1 million.



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