Senator Bill Perkins  joined Governor David Paterson at the Harlem State Office Building for the historic signing of legislation that will benefit Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (MWBEs) and small businesses in New York State.
“Small businesses and particularly those owned by minorities and women are the backbone and foundation needed to lift our community out of this recession. By helping the business enterprises that provide the bulk of the jobs in our neighborhoods, the legislation signed by Governor Paterson today helps everyone. My Committee on Corporations and Authorities  will oversee the implementation of these laws and make certain the state government fulfills its promise to our businesses,” said Senator Bill Perkins (D-30th District).
"With these pieces of legislation, our State is building on its proud history of opening the door to success for any New Yorker who has the talent, drive and passion for their business to succeed," Governor Paterson said. "But there is still much work to be done to correct disparities in government contracting. By improving equity in the State procurement process and facilitating greater access for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises, we help businesses thrive, and we will help our State recover from recession."
MWBEs are essential to creating jobs. Between September 2008 and September 2009, New York State lost 236,000 jobs, a disproportionate percentage of which hit women and ethnic minority groups. Studies consistently show that MBEs are more likely than nonminority-owned businesses to locate in minority communities and employ minority workers. One result of increasing access to capital and opportunity for MWBEs, therefore, is stimulus for job creation across the state. Small businesses are responsible for a major share of job creation in New York.
The Governor signed these bills into law today aiding minority and women owned businesses:
S8312 / A11525 : Raises the cap on discretionary purchases that a State agency can award to MWBEs or small businesses from $100,000 to $200,000, subject to the agency's internal controls, but not based on full-blown competitive procurement procedures.
S8313 / A11526 : Expands contracting practices of public authorities granting increased opportunities for MWBE participation. Additionally, requires that the procurement guidelines for each State public authority include the designation of one or more senior staff to oversee the authority's MWBE program and requires that procurements be conducted to achieve the authority's MWBE goals to the maximum feasible extent.
S8314 /A11527 : Expands and strengthens the State's program for MWBE contracting, and authorizes a new and more thorough disparity study before the provisions relating to the MWBE program expires in 2014, including in-depth review of contractors' hiring and promotional practices. This legislation will also create the position of Chief Diversity Officer to oversee the MWBE program and diversity issues in the workforce from within the Executive Chamber.
Emerging Investment Managers Bill (S6888 / A9976 ): Addresses entities that are not executive agencies, and that control large pools of money for investment: the Comptroller, the State Insurance Fund and the Deferred Compensation Board. This legislation will provide emerging investment managers the ability to invest with MWBE financial institutions and to adopt a strategy that motivates investments in underserved regions of the State.
These measures address MWBE disparities in government contracting that were outlined in a comprehensive multi-year study and report commissioned by the New York State Department of Economic Development  and released in April 2010 – "The State of Minority and Woman Owned Business Enterprise: Evidence from NY."  In March 2010, following a thorough examination of State procurement processes, the Task Force delivered a series of recommendations designed to provide MWBEs with an opportunity to compete for contracts.
Senate Majority Conference Leader John L. Sampson  said: "Diversity is good for business. Expanding opportunities for minority and women entrepreneurs through greater inclusion in the State procurement process and better access to credit creates a more competitive market to grow our economy. If we are going to remedy discrimination in State contracting programs, it is necessary to implement procurement procedures that will ensure the utilization of MWBEs as well as asset managers. I applaud Governor Paterson and Senator Hassell-Thompson for their diligent and dedicated work on this and other issues."
Senate President Pro Tempore Malcolm A. Smith  said: "Supporting businesses that are ready, willing, and able to deliver the services we need is smart economics. New York's MWBE program levels the playing field for women and minority owned businesses, and these changes will ensure the program runs even more successfully and efficiently. I congratulate Senator Hassell-Thompson for championing these bills and thank the Governor for partnering with the Senate to grow New York's business environment."
Senator Ruth Hassel-Thompson  said: "These bills intend to bring our State procurement process into the 21st Century by removing barriers that have historically prevented women and persons of color from reaching full economic parity with respect to contracting opportunities in this State. By the year 2040 more than 50% of the population of New York State will be made up of what are termed 'minority groups.' Large corporations have already sought to prepare for this eventuality by engaging in a process known as 'Supplier Diversity.' New York State has lagged behind even the private sector with respect to its contract expenditures for Minority and Women's Business Enterprises (MWBEs). The four bill package, also known as the New York State Business Diversity Act ensures that the State's fiduciary-controlled entities, public authorities and agencies have developed and codified a strategy aimed at inclusion and meaningful participation of MWBEs across New York State. These bills go a long way to ensure that best-practices are institutionalized and that contracting opportunities are readily available for qualified MWBEs."