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Neighbors Growing Together | Sep 23, 2014

The Taylor Report by Sen. Rich Taylor

Boost economy by ‘buying Iowa’
Feb 07, 2013

Creating jobs and expanding our middle class are top priorities for all Iowans. What Iowa businesses need most is customers walking through their doors and buying their products.

The State of Iowa should be one of those customers whenever it makes sense. There are hundreds of state purchases open for bid at any given time — everything from ice machines to furniture to information technology services. Iowa’s hard-working small businesses should have first crack at those state contracts.

Senate File 15 will strengthen an existing law that requires state purchasers to give preference to Iowa products and Iowa-based businesses. Under this legislation, if an out-of-state business makes the low bid and an Iowa-based business is within 5 percent or $10,000 of that bid, the Iowa-based business will have a chance to match the lower bid. The bill only applies to purchases of less than $500,000, meaning the benefits will go mostly to small businesses.

Here are some state purchases that got my attention: Did Iowa really have to buy digital cameras from a Massachusetts company and aprons from a Pennsylvania company?  One Iowa state agency bought bedding, towels and sheets from North Carolina. And a contract for bread and bakery products was awarded to a company from Missouri.

Iowa businesses should have had a better chance to supply all those needs. The Senate Economic Growth Committee has already approved this approach, and I look forward to a vote by the whole Senate.

It’s a win-win. It promotes local products in a way that is good for Iowa businesses, communities and employees. At the same time, the state always pays the amount of the lowest bid and can still purchase from an out-of-state vendor if their bid can’t be matched.

This is a fiscally responsible way to use taxpayer dollars to invest in Iowa.

For more on the “Buy Iowa” bill, go to http://tinyurl.com/b4yru9p.

This is a legislative update from Sen. Rich Taylor, representing Henry and Lee counties and portions of Washington and Jefferson counties.

For newsletters, photos and further information, go to www.senate.iowa.gov/senator/taylor.

To contact Taylor during session, call the Senate Switchboard at 515-281-3371. Otherwise he can be reached at home at 319-931-1568. E-mail him at rich.taylor@legis.iowa.gov.

Taylor is vice-chair of the Agriculture Committee. He also serves on the Economic Growth, Judiciary, Local Government and Transportation committees, as well as the Justice Systems Budget Subcommittee.

 

 

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