On December 29, 2017, Governor Andrew M. Cuomo signed legislation, Chapter 504 of the Laws of 2017, sponsored by State Senator Marisol Alcántara and Assembly Member Alicia Hyndman, which gives the City of New York the authority to increase economic opportunities for Minority and Women-Owned Business Enterprises (M/WBEs). The City is now able to spend up to $150,000 on contracts with M/WBEs without forcing those businesses to first go through a time-consuming, formal, competitive bidding process. This increased discretionary spending limit for goods and services closely matches the State’s $200,000 limit in this area. Prior to the bill’s signing, the City’s discretionary spending limit for goods and services was $20,000. Additionally, the new law will allow the City to consider a firm’s status as an M/WBE when using the best value procurement method as well as the firm’s record of complying with existing labor standards, maintaining harmonious labor relations, and protecting the health and safety of workers.
Statement from Mayor Bill de Blasio:
“For a long time, minority and women-owned businesses have gone through what can at times be a lengthy process for City contracts. Today, after strong advocacy by members of my Administration, members of the State legislature, advocacy groups, and countless M/WBEs, the State has expanded economic opportunity for M/WBEs by easing the burden of the time-consuming, bidding process for small purchases – a process that can hinder an owner’s ability to stay focused on growing and sustaining their business. This new authority will mean less time focused on bureaucratic paperwork and more time focused on expanding business. The City’s ability to consider a business’ status as an M/WBE – as well as their history of complying with existing labor standards – when awarding many contracts will truly level the playing field for M/WBEs. I would like to thank our legislative leaders in both houses and countless supportive legislators, especially our bill sponsors, State Senator Alcántara and Assembly Member Hyndman, for passing the bill, and I thank the Governor for signing it into law. With this legislation, we recognize that when all New Yorkers – regardless of race, gender or ethnicity – have the tools and resources they need to thrive, the city as a whole reaps the benefits of their economic success.”
Statement from Richard Buery, Deputy Mayor for Strategic Policy Initiatives and Citywide M/WBE Director:
“This legislation marks an important milestone for minority and women-owned businesses that want the opportunity to work on City projects. Chapter 504 of the Laws of 2017 raises the City’s discretionary spending limit for awarding contracts to MWBEs from $20,000 to $150,000, which reduces unnecessary paperwork and makes it easier for M/WBEs to compete. Thank you to the Governor, legislative leaders, and our bill sponsors, State Senator Alcántara and Assembly Member Hyndman, for seeing this legislation through. This is a huge step forward for minority and women business owners seeking to expand and sustain their businesses so that they can reinvest in their local communities and hire local community members. And this is just the start: we will continue investing in M/WBEs to create an even playing field!”