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State meets minority-hiring goal

Madison (AP) — For the first time in its 25-year history, state agencies met a goal of giving at least 5 percent of business to minority-owned firms.

Gov. Jim Doyle released a report showing 5.87 percent out of $1.6 billion spent on state contracts and procurement went to firms in the Minority Business Enterprise program in 2008.

It is the first time since state lawmakers in 1983 set the 5 percent goal that it has been met. The nearly $95 million in spending also marks the most money for the program in one year and was a 52 percent increase from the previous year.

Spending that went to minority firms increased drastically for state building, highway and bridge construction projects and for architectural and engineering services, according to the Department of Administration report. Fourteen agencies met or exceeded the 5 percent goal, the report said.

More than 1,200 businesses are certified to take part in the program, giving them an edge in seeking state business. The law gives agencies the power to accept bids from the companies even if their proposals cost up to 5 percent more than a competitor’s.

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