Proposals Would Create Jobs and Help Local Businesses Be More Competitive
In Mets Stadium Construction
State Senators Toby Ann Stavisky (D-Flushing) and John D. Sabini (D/WFP-Corona), both of whom represent diverse communities adjacent to the future Mets Stadium, offered a proposal in Albany last week that would not only create jobs but help minority and women-owned business enterprises (MWBEs) be more competitive when bidding on State government contracts from Queens to Cattaraugus.
Senator Stavisky, whose is part of the New York Mets Minority and Women Owned Business Initiative, an advisory committee of community leaders tasked with developing a comprehensive diversity plan that will ensure the involvement of MWBEs in the construction of the team's new stadium, said that this initiative is a perfect example of how community cooperation can lead to business and job opportunities for minorities and women.
"I'm proud to say that the SenateMinority are not only proposing new reforms to MWBE programs but we're also taking an active role in taking these ideas from paper and putting them in concrete," Senator Stavisky said.
Senator Sabini cited recent statistics in declaring that the time is now to remove obstacles for minority and women-owned businesses.
"According to the latest U.S. Census," Senator Sabini said, "the number of Hispanic-owned businesses in New York State increased 57 percent between 1997 and 2002--more than any other state in the country and almost twice the national Hispanic average of 31 percent during that time. The number of women-owned businesses in New York State increased 28 percent, eight points above the national women's average. With this rapid growth comes our government's responsibility to make sure that any obstacles hindering traditionally disenfranchised groups from reaching their full potential be removed. The proposals we're making do that by leveling an uneven playing field."
The multi-faceted proposal, significant now as the upstate economy continues to slump and the Mets prepare to build their new stadium in Flushing Meadows-Corona Park, works primarily by strengthening the State's Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program.
Article 15-A of New York State's Executive Law currently requires State contracts to be free of barriers inhibiting the participation of minority and women-owned businesses. Senators Stavisky and Sabini said the MWBE Program, established to ensure the implementation of Article 15-A, currently lacks the accountability and efficiency it needs to be effective.
The Queens legislators proposed the following reforms, among others, to help minority and women-owned businesses in New York:
- Require businesses to include an MWBE plan as part of their bid, not after they've
already won a contract
- Create violations against contractors that fail to comply with Article 15 and its reporting
- Create an MWBE Web site where certified MWBEs can access info about contracting
and subcontracting opportunities throughout New York State
- Eliminate performance and payment bonds for contracts under $500,000, which would
help small businesses more likely to be owned by minorities and women
- Establish a 'Mentor-Protégé' program in which approved mentor firms give assistance and
training to small businesses and MWBEs in areas such as general business management,
financial management and joint venture agreements