I can only say so much here, but it looks like the Nutter Administration is commendably taking a broader look at minority, female, and disabled participation in the local economy. There's been a lot of talk about the percentage of City contracts that go to traditionally under-represented business ownership categories, and to be sure those are percentages worth keeping an eye on. But I think that the far more important ratio is the participation of quality minority, female, and disabled firms that are out there to bid on City contracts.

To use "disparity study" terminology, "availability" is just as if not more important than "utilization." Here's a link to a letter to the Philadelphia Inquirer by Councilman W. Wilson Goode Jr., who was chiefly responsible for the legislation that requires an annual disparity study, in which he also recommends a broader look. Here's hoping that the Nutter Administration takes that broader look, and coordinates with other public and private sector entities to improve on both the utilization of and the availability of traditionally under-represented business ownership categories. After all, a free market system does best when the whole of its population is fully engaged in economic matters.
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