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.