September 29, 2009 |

Wheatley's select committee issues report on small business, diversity in state contracts, purchasing

State Rep. Jake Wheatley, D-Allegheny, said the select committee he chairs has approved and issued a report that makes 16 sets of recommendations to ensure participation in state contracts and purchasing from minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged-owned businesses.

The bipartisan House Select Committee on Minority, Women, and Disadvantaged Business Enterprise Inclusion approved the report 7-0.

The committee's recommendations include:

• Having all state agencies reserve 10 percent of their procurement and contracting dollars for small businesses with 250 or fewer employees, including but not limited to minority-owned, women-owned and disadvantaged-owned business enterprises (MWEs, WBEs and DBEs).

• Having state agencies, boards and commissions establish an overall aspirational target of 25 percent of procurement and construction dollars going to MWEs, WBEs and DBEs.

• Requiring that prime contractors doing business with the state pay subcontractors within five days.

• Creating greater uniformity and consistency in the state certification process for MWEs, WBEs and DBEs by having the state Department of General Services accept certification from the Pennsylvania Unified Certification Program and having local governments and school districts accept those certifications as sufficient.

The 59-page report is available on Wheatley's Web site: www.pahouse.com/Wheatley. It includes six pages of findings on what state government has been doing to ensure diversity in contracts and purchasing. Testimony from the 63 witnesses at the committee's five public hearings is also available on his Web site.

"As chairman, I am proud of this report because it is based on vital input from the public, businesses, experts, and state officials," Rep. Wheatley said.

"Ultimately, I believe our recommendations will help small businesses grow and keep Pennsylvania moving in the right direction. I commend all members of this select committee for working in a bipartisan manner to produce this report. I look forward to working with them and the rest of our colleagues in the House and Senate to implement our recommendations."

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