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21 Feb 2020

Mayor’s Floor Leader Wants Income Caps Lifted from Construction Firms Owned by Women & People of Color

Mayor’s Floor Leader Wants Income Caps Lifted from Construction Firms Owned by Women & People of Color

Mayor Lori Lightfoot’s City Council floor leader said Thursday he wants to raise or remove caps on gross income and personal net worth that have forced construction firms owned by women and people of color out of Chicago’s set-aside program.

Companies are now forced to “graduate” from the set-aside program when their average gross receipts exceed $33 million over the previous three fiscal years and when the owner’s personal net worth tops $2.4 million.

But Ald. Gilbert Villegas (36th) branded those caps unrealistically low at a time when a $30 billion bonanza of construction contracts is coming down the pike from mega-projects like Lincoln Yards and “the 78” and public projects like a Chicago casino, O’Hare Airport expansion and the state capital plan.

"Just when we’re having minority and women-owned firms that have capacity, we’re gonna be kicking them out of the program. I don’t think that’s the right thing to do,” he said.

Villegas noted that the state of California has no caps and awarded “north of $20 billion” worth of business to minority firms last year. In capless Miami, minorities and women got $4.1 billion.

“In Chicago, we have limits and thresholds and we only did $680 million…The barrier is the thresholds that we’ve put in place,” he said.

Villegas chairs the City Council’s Committee on Economic and Capital Development.

He plans to hold hearings to determine what the new limits on personal net worth and gross income should be — or whether there should be any limits at all.

Read more at the Chicago Sun Times

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