Wednesday, August 20, 2008

"Diversity Lags In Va. Program To Help Firms", but at what cost to taxpayers?

The Washington Post notes that the Kaine "administration has achieved one of its top goals -- buying 40 percent of all state products and services from small, women- and minority-owned businesses."

And while it is encouraging to see the state reaching out to small, women- and minority-owned, businesses, this may be coming at a cost to taxpayers who may be footing a higher bill for goods and services.

Some companies in Virginia, including some with long records of working for the state, have lost contracts recently in the state's eagerness to hire small, women- and minority-owned businesses.

At least two companies are formally protesting losing bids to SWaM companies, which they claim come at taxpayer expense. In both cases, the losing bids were lower in cost than the SWaM bids.

Especially in light of the recent talk of yet another budget shortfall, shouldn't our first priority for state agencies be to find the best possible services or goods at the lowest possible cost?

"A lot of people are concerned about the cost factor," said Del. Christopher B. Saxman (R-Stanton), who heads the General Assembly's Cost-Cutting Caucus and has heard similar complaints about lower bids being rejected. "If it's costing the state money, then it's probably worth refining."

Should limited tax dollars be funding an agenda or be used to fund necessarily core services of government?


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