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Rep. Welch on state opportunities for minority- and women-owned businesses: “The data is abysmal”

Friday, Aug 28, 2020

* 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.

- Posted by Rich Miller        

20 Comments
  1. - levivotedforjudy - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 10:17 am:

    This MWBE revelation is pretty much the movie “Ground Hog Day” if it ran for 15 years straight. Hard to believe this is still a topic that cannot get fixed, again.


  2. - Ok - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 10:37 am:

    Good on Speaker Welch for pushing this issue when everyone else wanted it to be swept aside.


  3. - notsosure - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 10:44 am:

    “Job creators” ought to be a banned word. Not here; everywhere.


  4. - Lester Holt’s Mustache - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 10:51 am:

    == terminating the State of Illinois employment of all Caucasian males==

    For all the folks who didn’t get enough racism from trumps taxpayer funded speech last night, I guess? I wasn’t expecting racist comments from Capfax commenters, but this place constantly surprises


  5. - revvedup - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 11:14 am:

    So, now Black businessmen want to ride the coattails of the blamers who say “we can’t afford tax increases/living wages/health and safety laws/etc.” But they’ll count their money all the way to the bank regardless. Nice. /snark


  6. - cermak_rd - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 11:14 am:

    Dave W, I think the idea here is that it could help around the edges say XYZ Widgets makes a bid for 45000 and company TUV makes a bid for 46500 and is majority minority/women owned that might tip the balance in company TUV’s favor. I mean, I’m assuming things like reliability from doing former work and such also play into these decisions normally, so it’s not just that low bid always wins.

    Other things that could be done is offering training on the bid process and how to make your bid is considered etc. like making sure your firm has the manpower to do it.

    One concern I have for women owned businesses is that it was often a shill process before where the gent just put the firm in his wife’s name even though she did not participate in the firm’s business.


  7. - JS Mill - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 11:21 am:

    === terminating the State of Illinois employment of all Caucasian males===

    I am assuming that was from a since deleted comment?

    =Is the government going to subsidize this?=

    You have to be pulling our leg with that one right? I mean where to start? Do you have even the foggiest notion of how many businesses are subsidized in one way or another? Entire industries, like Agriculture, are government subsidized. Let me know when you take action on that, then you can gripe about typically smaller, minority and female owned businesses getting a little leg up.


  8. - Jake Jacobs - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 11:38 am:

    If they move forward with hearings, I hope they will also address the issue of contracts for businesses owned by people with disabilities. The performance has been dismal for many years.


  9. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 11:40 am:

    “Ivory said it’s “ridiculous” to think that raising taxes on businesses won’t affect their employees.”

    Small businesses don’t pay a state income tax. Corporations got a massive 40% tax cut because of Trump and the GOP. The scare tactics are phony. Fair Tax opponents should just be honest and say they don’t want wealthy people to pay higher taxes, instead of trying to scare low/middle income people into fighting the rich’s battles (like that will happen).


  10. - Huh? - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 11:47 am:

    Cermak- Illinois procured rules require the selection of the lowest responsive bid. The DBE/WBE percentages are not considered as part of the bid. Procurement rules would have to be changed.


  11. - Anonymous - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 11:56 am:

    Cermak,
    Generally speaking, the low bid wins, especially general services contracts. There is no preference for awarding to BEP Certified vendors. If a contract is over 104k, there is a BEP goal established which is determined by the number of BEP certified vendors divided by the number of total vendors registered for the product/service NIGP. That number is the BEP goal. So, if XYZ wins a service contract for 5 million and there are 3 BEP Vendors registered for that type of service and 100 total vendors, there would be a 3% Goal which is the minimum amount that needs to be subcontracted to a BEP vendor.

    Before the contract is awarded, the prospective vendor has to submit their BEP plan which is either the contact info and plan for BEP subcontractors, or their good-faith effort to find a BEP vendor. The good-faith effort is basically them soliciting the 3 registered BEP Vendors to do subcontracting. If the BEP vendors decline, which happens often, then the vendor is deemed to be compliant with the BEP Goal/Plan and the contract is awarded.

    There are many ways to exclude subcontractors, such as proprietary equipment, software, etc, which forces the BEP vendors to often decline the subcontracting opportunity.

    One of the most significant problems with the system is the fact many BEP businesses are not registered correctly and often only register for a few NIGP codes which is how the BEP pools are determined. The other is the subcontracting is the responsibility of the prime vendor. If they changed it to the procuring agency needs to secure the BEP goal, such as hiring a BEP vendor to do part X of the contract, even if the amount is a bit higher, then I think they would see better results. As it stands, there is every incentive for prime vendors to do their best to exclude subcontractors because subcontracting is a hassle and reduces profit-margins.


  12. - Froganon - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 12:03 pm:

    Many businesses are subsidized, especially mega corporations like fossil fuel companies.
    https://www.eesi.org/papers/view/fact-sheet-fossil-fuel-subsidies-a-closer-look-at-tax-breaks-and-societal-costs#1
    The phony concern about businesses closing due to the Fair Tax is a tired myth. Businesses on the brink of closing aren’t paying higher rates. All businesses require the vast infrastructure of utilities, fire protection, police, streets and customers/ employees who depend on that infrastructure funded via taxes. Businesses that can’t pay their fair share need to close. We can’t afford to subsidize businesses which can’t pay their fair share of community operational costs.


  13. - City Zen - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 12:15 pm:

    How many trade unions have an African American female in a leadership role? Anybody?

    Any trade union that falls under the Prevailing Wage Act should be required to have minority representation in leadership.


  14. - 6 feet - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 12:45 pm:

    It’s too bad there’s not a way for the legislature to vote remotely. It will be interesting to see how many lawmakers who voted against a remote option come out in support of the agenda Rep. Welch is talking about.


  15. - Father Ted - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 1:28 pm:

    “How many trade unions have an African American female in a leadership role? Anybody?”

    Your question made me realize that CTU had an African American female that was replaced by a white male. That’s not very progressive of them, is it? /s


  16. - Elliott Ness - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 1:32 pm:

    A member of the Democrat majority complaining about the business climate not being good- take a long in the mirror at the overall fiscal condition and climate YOUR majority has created and you have part of the answer


  17. - Oswego Willy - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 1:37 pm:

    === Democrat majority===

    Please, wear a mask if you’re gonna go all Facebook/Rush Limbaugh and hope you make a point. Ugh.

    To the post,

    The shaming that needs to be done to bring change is the most useful tool, and it also highlights the needs for minority businesses to step in and be a visible reminder that choices made may not be ones where looking for diversity is paramount.

    You can be aggrieved in the logical numbers or percentages, but communally shaming with company after company you can show being overlooked, that’s making real hay.


  18. - Last Bull Moose - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 2:14 pm:

    Having people in State government who can help new firms bid on State contracts is good business. It increases the talent pool, increases competition, and generally helps the state get value for its dollars spent.

    Tying this help to race, sex, or sexual orientation is bad governance. It consumes resources proving who fits the preferred status.

    From what I saw in State purchasing, it invites corruption. I, only half in jest, once suggested that we should audit any contract that was the topic of a call from a legislator.


  19. - Grandson of Man - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 2:15 pm:

    It’s almost comical that certain people would attack Illinois’ business environment when the country is experiencing a massive economic crash. That talking point is kaput.


  20. - Arock - Friday, Aug 28, 20 @ 2:42 pm:

    Why is that kind of talk kaput? When the recovery begins Illinois with its overload of anti-business regulations could likely be lagging in that recovery because of that very thing. Anti- business policies should always be looked at to remedy as they have an affect on how strong one comes out of a slow down, recession or a depression. That would be like saying lets not look at the issue this story is about because we are experiencing a massive economic crash.


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