New York's main business lobbying organization on Wednesday backed an nine-bill package meant to strengthen the state's support for minority and women-owned businesses. 

The measures include expanding incentives for contracting with firms that have women or minority ownership, a streamlining of the certification process for the businesses as well as protecting companies against fraud. 

“Our support for these legislative proposals illustrates our commitment to supporting all businesses across New York State,” said Paul Zuber, the executive vice president of the Business Council of New York State. “Opportunity for economic growth must be given to all employers, regardless of race or creed, and passage of these bills will support that initiative.”  

Support for the measures comes as Gov. Kathy Hochul and lawmakers are negotiating a $227 billion budget plan that is due at the end of March. Hochul and lawmakers have proposed varying provisions to promote minority and women-owned businesses in the state during the negotiations. 

The Business Council is seeking legislation that would have the state conduct a study of which industries and government agenices would benefit from a minority and women-owned business enterprise mentorship program. 

The group is also backing have state agenices develop a three-year plan for increasing participation by minority and women-owned companies in state contracts and subcontracts. And the group is backing a measure that would create a business and personal income tax tax credit that covers a portion of what is paid when contracting with one of the businesses.