By JEFF COLTIN
New York City Councilman Ritchie Torres is trying to get the city government to catch up to the private sector. He’s introduced a bill, Intro. 1463, that would make the city recognize LGBT-owned businesses and encourage the city to contract with them.
“Diversity does not happen on its own, naturally. The city has to be intentional about it,” Torres told City & State. “Why should New York City be less progressive than corporate America?”
New York City already has a well-established MWBE program for businesses owned by racial minorities and women. Launched in 1992, the program is based on a series of rigorous studies that have shown there’s a disparity between the number of such businesses available to perform government work and how much the government contracts with them. That’s the legal framework that allows New York City – and other governments around the country, including New York state – to set specific goals for giving contracts to businesses owned by minorities and women.
Despite the program, the disparity is stark. A study of contracting from 2006 to 2015 found that while 51% of available vendors were owned by minorities and women, just 10% of city procurement dollars went to such firms. While the MWBE program is based on mathematical analysis, it’s not impossible to change. In September, the City Council passed legislation adding …