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St. Louis aldermen may vote to make MBE goal law

Published Nov 16, 2017

Since 1997, the City of St. Louis has maintained, by a continuously renewed executive order from the office of the mayor, a policy of awarding 25 percent of subcontracts on city projects to minority-owned businesses (MBEs). In 2018, the aldermen of St. Louis could enshrine this policy in law.

A recent proposal regarding the measure died without a vote, but there are plans to introduce a new version of the bill before the end of 2017. Whereas the existing executive policy calls for a blanket 25 percent awarded to MBEs, the expired measure subdivided this goal, with 21.35 percent of subcontracts going to black-owned businesses, 1.63 percent going to Latino-owned businesses, and 11.25 percent to woman-owned businesses.

These percentages are taken from a business disparity study conducted by a consulting firm for the City of St. Louis in 2015. The study found, among other things, that between 2007 and 2012, Latino- and Asian-owned businesses combined were awarded five subcontracts during that period, making up approximately one-half of one percent of total subcontracts awarded.

The study went on to recommend that "African American, Hispanic American, and WBE construction subcontract goals should be equal to each group's availability."

To read the 2015 City of St. Louis disparity study, visit

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