* Press release…
State Rep. Emanuel “Chris” Welch, D-Hillside, is backing legislation to promote fair contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses in the public and private sector.
“For too long, Black-owned businesses, other minority-owned businesses, and women-owned businesses have been shut out of opportunities to provide services to public and private sector institutions,” Welch said. “I am fighting to ensure that institutions in government and the private sector are giving businesses owned by African Americans, women, and other minorities a fair shot to provide services to other businesses or to their government.”
Welch is sponsoring House Bill 5824, an initiative to promote the use of diverse contractors within the public and private sector. Under Welch’s bill, the Illinois Department of Commerce and Economic Opportunity (DCEO) will be required to hold matchmaking workshops to connect diverse vendors with various institutions seeking services including colleges and universities, hospitals, casinos, racetracks, and health insurance companies.
Welch’s measure also strengthens fair contracting reporting requirements for public sector entities. Any insurance company with assets of more than $50 million and all health insurance companies with Medicaid contracts will be required to file a supplier diversity report with the state. Additionally, all recipients of the state’s Economic Development for a Growing Economy (EDGE) tax credits will be required to file a supplier diversity report with the state. Previous legislation to require supplier diversity reports for utilities led to a more than 400% increase in the use of diverse vendors for that sector.
“Ensuring better connections between diverse businesses and large institutions seeking services is one way we can increase the use of businesses owned by African American, other minorities, and women,” Welch said. “For public institutions and businesses relying on special tax breaks, we go even further by requiring public reporting on the use of diverse businesses in order to ensure fair contracting opportunities for Black-, minority- and women-owned businesses.”
The bill is here.
* Peter Hancock at Capitol News Illinois…
“I am demanding that veto session takes place as scheduled, because the Black agenda cannot wait,” Welch, a Hillside Democrat, said during a video news conference. “The Black agenda, which will be rolled out in the coming days, is going to demand equity and inclusion and in several areas.”
Welch was referring to a package of legislation expected to be put forward by the Illinois Legislative Black Caucus. Ahead of that announcement, however, the Maywood Democrat said he will push for passage of House Bill 5824. It would improve contracting opportunities for minority- and women-owned and operated businesses, he said.
“This isn’t something new. It’s something that we’ve been consistently fighting for year after year after year,” Welch said. “And I think in this watershed moment that we are (at) in history, this is the time, now more than ever, that we should be given fair contracting opportunities.” […]
Illinois currently has a statute that sets a goal of awarding at least 20 percent of the total dollars of state contracts to businesses owned by minorities, women and people with disabilities, but Welch said many of the state’s largest purchasing institutions, including its higher education system and Medicaid program, have consistently failed to meet that target.
“I have spent the summer looking at data in all of these industries. And the data is abysmal, particularly in the managed care organization industry,” he said.
There’s more, so go read the rest.
* Meanwhile, here’s the Center Square…
The leader of the Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce said Gov. J.B. Pritzker doesn’t like for black businesses to have an opinion about the proposed income tax amendment that would change the state’s flat tax rate to a structure with higher rates for higher earners.
Illinois Black Chamber of Commerce President and CEO Larry Ivory said it is the wrong time for changing Illinois flat income tax to one with higher rates for higher earners.
Ivory said 40 percent of businesses may not survive the economic impact of COVID-19 restrictions and because of the state’s poor business climate pre-pandemic, people needing jobs are already being hurt by businesses leaving the state.
State Rep. LaShawn Ford, D-Chicago, said the proposed graduated income tax makes sense for Illinois.
“If we can make sure that those that make more can pay more we should do that,” Ford said.
Ivory said it’s “ridiculous” to think that raising taxes on businesses won’t affect their employees. He said taxing higher earners at higher rates will impact job creators and limit job offerings, which will in turn hurt the Black community.