Republican State Senators hosted a hearing at Binghamton University Monday to gather feedback from business owners and union representatives.
Senator Fred Akshar, Co-Chair of the New York State Minority and Women-owned Business Enterprise (MWBE) program working group was joined by Senators Sue Serino and Tom O’Mara to discuss how to improve the program.
Area business owners provided testimonies detailing the problems they’ve had with the MWBE certification program.
Concerns include the lengthy certification process, participation thresholds, project delays, along with forcing businesses to hire contractors outside the area.
Senator Akshar says the program needs to improve on helping businesses grow where they are and not by incentivizing them to relocate.
“We have people here that want to work. There are people in the North Country that want to work that are capable of working, in Western New York capable of working. We’re not doing that because we’ve created these loopholes having to send people to other parts of the state to fulfill this obligation which I think is incredibly sad,” said Akshar.
Akshar says the program is well intentioned but has flaws that need to be resolved.
Monday’s hearing follows similar hearings held in Albany and Watertown.