Colorado Passes Contracting Reform Aiming to Reduce Outsourcing, Keep Jobs In State

Will you be our next sustaining member?Donate

The Equity Factor

Colorado Passes Contracting Reform Aiming to Reduce Outsourcing, Keep Jobs In State

The law requires state agencies to consider other factors, like worker wages and benefits, when deciding on a bid for a public project. Agencies must think more holistically about the oft-cited bottom line.

Photo Credit: Flickr user Daniel Tobias.

This is your first of three free stories this month. Become a free or sustaining member to read unlimited articles, webinars and ebooks.

Become A Member

On May 24, Colorado Gov. John Hickenlooper signed the Keep Jobs in Colorado Act, a bill designed to minimize the outsourcing of public projects and, just as advertised, keep jobs in Colorado.

House Bill 1292 reforms the state’s contracting system — which already required that 80 percent of workers on publicly funded construction projects be Colorado residents — in the hopes that taxpayer money goes to local workers. The newly signed law penalizes employers who do not hire locally or who buy foreign-produced materials instead of supporting local industries.

Proponents of the bill, mostly Democrats, want to keep money in state. State Republicans, who largely did not support the bill, think it gives preference to unions over business owners. (Hickenlooper is a Democrat.)

The law requires state agencies to consider other factors, like worker wages and benefits, when deciding on a bid for a public project. Agencies must think more holistically about the oft-cited bottom line.

“A low bid may cost less, but at the end of the day, it may not be the best value for the taxpayer,” state Sen. Andy Kerr told Colorado Community Media.

It’s a bold piece of legislation that didn’t get much attention outside of Colorado and should serve as a model for other states looking to support local economies and keep taxpayer dollars benefitting, well, taxpayers.

I’m not advocating for closed borders and harsh trade agreements between every state in America, because that’s a terrible idea. It’s not remotely possible for a state to subsist on its own workers alone either. But it does make sense that a state-funded project — paid for, presumably, with taxpayer dollars — should go to a local company that sends a workforce composed mostly of state residents to the job site.

The Equity Factor is made possible with the support of the Surdna Foundation.

Bill Bradley is a writer and reporter living in Brooklyn. His work has appeared in Deadspin, GQ, and Vanity Fair, among others.

Follow Bill

Tags: jobseconomic developmentequity factordenver

×
Next City App Never Miss A StoryDownload our app ×
×

You've reached your monthly limit of three free stories.

This is not a paywall. Become a free or sustaining member to continue reading.

  • Read unlimited stories each month
  • Our email newsletter
  • Webinars and ebooks in one click
  • Our Solutions of the Year magazine
  • Support solutions journalism and preserve access to all readers who work to liberate cities

Join 758 other sustainers such as:

  • Anonymous at $5/Month
  • Anonymous at $5/Month
  • Jillian at $10/Month

Already a member? Log in here. U.S. donations are tax-deductible minus the value of thank-you gifts. Questions? Learn more about our membership options.

or pay by credit card:

All members are automatically signed-up to our email newsletter. You can unsubscribe with one-click at any time.

  • Donate $20 or $5/Month

    The 21 Best Solutions of 2021 special edition magazine

  • Donate $40 or $10/Month

    Brave New Home by Diana Lind