Small Business and State Contracts- An Editorial by Sen. Curren Price

As California emerges from the recession, many businesses will begin revving up for the better more prosperous days ahead, as will many small, minority and women-owned firms. But the latter have something working for them in state government that needs to continue – a twenty-five percent small business contracting goal.

That goal can be the key to ensuring that these small businesses ride the same wave back to prosperity and growth as their larger counterparts. It’s something for which I am fighting in the State Legislature.

We want to extend a ten year-old, bipartisan 25 percent participation goal that was established by Democratic Governor Gray Davis in 2001 and re-established by Republican Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2006. I believe it is important to ensure that state contracting officials have the tools they need to promote robust small business contracting with the state.

Gary L. Stevens told me that small businesses like his – CSH Planning/Stormwater Specialist, LLC – have a much better chance of surviving by having legislation that specifies the percentage (25%) of dollars contracted with the State.

He believes that a state law will be more difficult to eliminate than an executive order and preserve the ground already won for small businesses.

That is why I have introduced SB 67, which codifies the 2006 Executive Order by Arnold Schwarzenegger to ensure that the state continues to meet or exceed the 25% overall annual California certified small business participation goal on state-funded contracts. This is a simple but important boost to our state’s small businesses.

This modest small business participation target has only been reached three times since it was established in 2001. Most recently, the Department of General Services (DGS) reported that in 2008-09, the state achieved its small business target by awarding $2.5 billion (26.88%) of the $8.92 billion in total state contracts to small businesses. But that’s a big number.

Small business is a key economic driver of job growth and economic development and continues to play a leading role in the state’s economic recovery. Maintaining a strong small business participation requirement on state-funded contracts promotes competition that helps control state costs and ensures that state agencies receive a good deal on their state contracts.

My legislation authorizes DGS to direct all state agencies, departments, boards and commissions that engage in state procurement and contracting, to establish a 25 percent participation goal of California certified small businesses.

It also authorizes DGS to establish reporting requirements, and other policies and procedures, to evaluate small business participation in state contracts as well as establish corrective action plans for entities not meeting their goals.

We need to make certain that the rising tide of the recovering California economy lifts all boats, especially the small businesses that empower and sustain our communities and create the majority of new jobs.

www.culvercitysymphony.org

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