That is the embarrassingly low percentage of each of your hard-earned county tax dollars that was spent with minority or woman-owned businesses in Prince George’s County in the last reported year.
With all of our diversity – being over 85% minority and majority female, home to several thousand minority or woman owned businesses, including over 1,200 certified minority or woman owned firms – our county government has made very little progress with opening the doors of opportunity to minority and woman owned businesses based in Prince George’s County.
And, despite all of the other progress that Prince George’s County has made over the past several years, this remains one of our biggest shortcomings. It’s our unfinished business. It’s one of the problems that we don’t like to talk about. But, I did not accept the mantle of leadership to dodge the tough issues. Our County prides itself as a progressive place of opportunity for diverse residents of all backgrounds. It should be unacceptable to all of us, public officials and residents alike, that only 11 cents out of every dollar of your money that the county government spends is spent with minority or women owned businesses that call Prince George’s County home.
Now some might say, “I don’t work in the county,” “I’m retired” or “I am not in business in the county,” why should I care about how much we invest in small, minority, and women owned businesses in the county? Here is why:
-Because we lack the local business tax base that our neighboring counties and cities have, you pay a higher tax burden on your residential taxes for public services, like schools and public safety, and we still cannot fully fund universal pre-K, new school construction, full public safety staffing, or assistance programs for seniors;
-Because we lack the local business base that our neighboring counties and cities have, we don’t attract enough of the high caliber of retail, restaurants, and other amenities that our residents deserve;
-Because we lack the local business base that our neighboring counties and cities have, over 60% of our workforce must work outside of the county, sitting in longer commutes and worse traffic;
-Because we lack the local business tax base that our neighboring counties and cities have, we don’t have the necessary funds to adequately repave your roads or provide you more bus service; and
-Because we lack the local business base that our neighboring counties and cities have, our nonprofits receive fewer corporate donations than many of our neighboring jurisdictions.
Not investing in small, minority, and women owned businesses in Prince George’s County affects all of us, people of all ages, from every walk of life. So, let’s do something about it!
In these upcoming 2018 elections, ask the local candidates you see, “Is 11% enough?” Then, join my campaign for Council At-Large and support the Jobs First Plan for Prince George’s County here: www.jobsfirstmovement.net.
Sources: Local Business Participation Procurement Report, Prince George’s County, Fiscal Year 2016; Maryland State MBE Database, 2017; U.S. Census, American Fact Finder, Firms by Industry, Gender, Ethnicity, and Race, Prince George’s County, 2012.