State laws to blame for lack of minority contracting

Ben Forman featured in CommonWealth Magazine

August 23, 2022

IN THE EARLY DAYS of the pandemic, the Paycheck Protection Program offered a crucial lifeline for millions of suddenly desperate businesses. Yet as banks doled out nearly $1 trillion in PPP money, minority-owned businesses were at the back of the line. It was a glaring example of how even the most well-intentioned public policies can perpetuate racial inequality. The American Rescue Plan Act  and the Bipartisan Infrastructure Law offer a do-over of sorts. Combined, these federal programs will inject $3 trillion into US businesses and communities.

Inequities in business ownership are a major contributor to the racial wealth gap. In Massachusetts, White residents are twice as likely to own a company as those who are Black or Hispanic. A big part of the problem is limited access to government spending. In many sectors, government contracts make up a large share of revenue. This is particularly true in growing young industries like clean energy, where there are generational fortunes to be made.

Meet The Author

Ben Forman

Research Director, MassINC

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