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Politics & Government

Minority and Women-Owned Business Leaders Hit Harrisburg for Lobby Day

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The largest purchaser of supplies and services in Pennsylvania is the state itself. But, for small businesses, particularly those owned by minorities and women, getting contracts to fulfill those needs can be difficult. Rep. Jake Wheatley (D-Allegheny) has introduced a bill to help address that.

“House Bill 85, which enables minority and women-owned and disadvantaged businesses to compete with larger businesses for state contracts,” said Wheatley.

Among other things, the bill would provide the state authority to waive employee limits; give alternative certification when needed; establish a surety bond guarantee program and the Surety Bond Guarantee Fund; and, in contracts for public works, further provide for contractors' and subcontractors' payment obligations.

“Without support that allows for them to compete fairly, in a balanced and transparent way in the marketplace, many small business owners and businesses themselves will not have the opportunity to grow and at the same time, damages our economic viability as a commonwealth,” said Wheatley.

Small business owners spent Tuesday afternoon meeting with state lawmakers to lobby for the bill, which Wheatley said would boost not only the smaller businesses, but the economy overall.

“We hope that we can look back a year from now, two years from now, ten years from now and see that we’ve created a fair environment where all our companies feel like they can get a fair shake in competing at the state level for contracts of all services,” he said.

The bill is awaiting consideration by the House State Government Committee.