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Charbonneau: Senate Backs Bill Capitalizing on State Agency Purchasing Power

March 29, 2011

03/30/11 Indiana Senate lawmakers voted 49-1 Tuesday in support of a “Buy Indiana” initiative, enhancing a state agency’s ability to purchase supplies manufactured or assembled by Indiana businesses. 

House Bill 1183, co-sponsored by State Senator Ed Charbonneau the Rep. forom Valparaiso,  in the upper chamber, allows Indiana businesses to be chosen over lower out-of-state bidders if their price comes within 3 percent of purchases less than $500,000. The threshold currently is 5 percent. 

Likewise, the bill would enable state agencies to purchase Indiana manufactured or assembled goods if the Hoosier firm’s price is within 2 percent of purchases between $500,000 and $1 million. That threshold is now 3 percent. 

Purchases over $1 million would continue to go to Indiana firms if their price was within 1 percent of the low bidder. 

“Our state does a good job of purchasing supplies from Hoosier vendors,” Charbonneau said. “We can improve on this and help generate additional economic activity beyond the value of the initial contract if more local suppliers use locally produced goods and services. By strengthening Indiana’s price-preference policies, state agencies will turn to more home-grown companies who will be turning to Hoosiers to produce their goods.” 

Charbonneau said when making procurement decisions, Indiana gives preference to local vendors as a means to nurture local economies. Indiana’s preference for in-state bidders providing supplies comes in the form of a percentage currently ranging from 1 percent to 5 percent based on the expected purchase dollar amount.  

Preferences do not apply when only Hoosier businesses submit contract bids.  

Charbonneau said HB 1183 removes this exception while giving additional preferences for supplies that are not only sold by Hoosier companies, but those that are manufactured, assembled or grown in the state, including agricultural products. 

“State agencies can use their purchasing power to help Indiana companies that employ Hoosiers and contribute to local economies,” Charbonneau said. “When goods and services are bought, state agencies get more mileage and achieve the best possible outcome for every dollar spent by assessing the costs and benefits to the community, rather than selecting the lowest purchase price.” 

HB 1183 will now return to the House of Representatives for final passage.