‘Buy Michigan’ Legislation Could Help Michigan Companies Win More State Contracts

Road construction is shown in Detroit in 2015. (AP Photo/Paul Sancya)

By Kyle Kaminski

May 5, 2023

Bipartisan bills introduced in the state Senate would allow Michigan companies a second chance to outbid out-of-state companies for state contracts—keeping more dollars in Michigan.

MICHIGAN—When the state government has to spend its money, it’s best to do it in Michigan. 

After all, those tax dollars were collected from Michiganders—and it can pay dividends for the local economy when the cash is kept local, rather than in the hands of an out-of-state company. 

That’s the theory, anyway, behind two new bills introduced this week by Sens. Kristen McDonald Rivet (D-Bay City) and John Damoose (R-Harbor Springs). And the “Buy Michigan” legislation, as it has been dubbed, could help give Michigan companies a big leg up on the competition.

“I will always push for good jobs and opportunities that strengthen Michigan’s economy,” McDonald Rivet said in a statement announcing the bills. “With this proposal, we can utilize our  tax dollars better by keeping more of them in-state. This is a pro-Michigan plan at all levels.”

Senate Bills 316 and 317—which were referred to the Senate Committee on Regulatory Affairs on Tuesday—would give companies that are headquartered in Michigan an opportunity to counter lower bids from out-of-state businesses when the state awards contracts.

Michigan’s contract bidding process is incredibly broad, and can touch on contracts dealing with just about everything aspect of state business—from utility bills, office supplies and printing services, to insurance coverage, vehicle replacements and large-scale construction projects.

All told, the state spends about $16 billion annually on contracts for goods and services, and the new legislation aims to keep as much of that cash as possible in the local economy. 

Specifically, the bills would give Michigan businesses an additional window of time to resubmit a lower, more competitive bid for a state contract if the initial lowest bid came from an out-of-state company. McDonald Rivet said the legislation would only give Michigan businesses another chance to win the contract, keeping more cash in the state, at a possible savings for the state.

Damoose labeled the bills a “win-win for Michigan taxpayers and businesses.”

He added: “Buy Michigan assures taxpayers the state of Michigan is getting the best possible price for the services and contracts it awards, and it makes it easier for Michigan businesses to do that work if they can offer a better priced proposal at the same or higher quality of service.”

A large group of both Democratic and Republican state senators have co-sponsored the bills, which were both referred to the Senate Regulatory Affairs Committee for further consideration. Several business groups have also come out in support of the “Buy Michigan” plan—as well county boards of commissioners in Wayne, Oakland, Macomb and Genesee counties. 

Author

  • Kyle Kaminski

    Kyle Kaminski is an award-winning investigative journalist with more than a decade of experience covering news across Michigan. Prior to joining The ‘Gander, Kyle worked as the managing editor at City Pulse in Lansing and as a reporter for the Traverse City Record-Eagle.

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