COLUMBUS- State Rep. Roland Winburn (D- Harrison Township) officially introduced legislation today to strengthen the state’s “Buy Ohio” provisions. Rep. Winburn has been working on this legislation over the course of this General Assembly and a copy of the bill draft is attached.
Rep. Winburn’s “Buy Ohio” job creation and retention preference bill will strengthen current “Buy Ohio” provisions which give preference to Ohio businesses selling products or services that will create or retain Ohio Jobs. The bill specifies that when the lowest responsive and responsible bid is an out-of-state bidder, an Ohio bid that demonstrates that the contract will create or retain Ohio jobs shall be selected if the Ohio bid is not greater than 10 percent of the lowest out-of-state bid.
“Our tax dollars should be putting Ohioans back to work, we must work to ensure that we are investing right back into our local economies and not handing state funds over to out of state or overseas companies,” said Rep. Winburn.
In 1983, the 115th General Assembly enacted the current “Buy Ohio” preference which gave preference to Ohio bids when the lowest responsive and responsible bid is an out-of-state bidder, and the Ohio bid was within 5 percent of the lowest (out-of-state) bid. Current law requires that the preference only be applied when the Ohio bid does not offer a disproportionately inferior product or service. And a bid is considered an “Ohio bid” if the bidder is located in Ohio or one of the bordering states, which is defined as any state that is contiguous to Ohio and that does not impose a restriction greater that Ohio imposes.
“Ohioans are willing and able to take on these jobs and do this work and we must give them the opportunities to do so,” said Rep. Winburn. “Ensuring preference to Ohio businesses helps to support and protect middle class Ohioans, and rebuild our economy.”
According to the Dayton Daily News, more than $791 million in state contracts has gone to out-of-state companies since 2009, many times with not a single Ohio company getting a chance to compete. This year alone 168 contracts were awarded to out-of-state companies, and of those 128 were awarded competitive bidding waivers. Gov. Kasich recently vetoed legislation that would have required state agencies that hire outside the state to ask Ohio companies why they didn’t bid, calling it “unnecessarily burdensome.”