For Immediate Release:
Jan. 28, 2013

Contact: Sheron Fulson
(573) 751-3158

Sen. Curls Pledges to Fight for Funding
for Disparity Study

JEFFERSON CITY — Sen. Shalonn “Kiki” Curls, D-Kansas City, today thanked Gov. Nixon for proposing to spend $1 million in state funding for a new disparity study in his annual State of the State Address Monday evening.  Sen. Curls, a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, says she and others have tried unsuccessfully to include funding for a new disparity study in the state budget for the past few years. 

A disparity study compares the actual number of minority- and women-owned businesses in the state against the actual number of minority- and women-owned businesses receiving state government contracts.  A disparity exists when minority and women-owned businesses are underutilized in the state contracting system.

Sen. Curls notes the last disparity study conducted in Missouri was commissioned in 1994 and completed four years later. 

“A lot of folks are saying this will finally be the year the state of Missouri begins to invest in rebuilding our infrastructure — our roads and bridges and public buildings,” Sen. Curls said.  “We want to make sure that minority- and women- owned businesses have a fair shot at securing state contracts for infrastructure projects, but we need new information before we can determine how to allocate those dollars.”

Sen. Curls says the governor’s inclusion of the money in his proposed budget will add weight to the effort to secure funding for a new disparity study during budget negotiations between the House and Senate.

The Missouri Office of Equal Opportunity reports that a disparity study can improve economic growth and create contracting opportunities while increasing tax revenue and adding jobs.  A disparity study will determine whether any discriminatory practices hinder minority- and women-owned businesses from participating in state contracting opportunities.

“A new disparity study will help us create a level playing field in the state contracting process to ensure that minority- and women-owned business are given equal consideration,” Sen. Curls said.