Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Will Affirmative Action Programs in government-sector procurement be eliminated in some states in the future?

Here’s the beginning of an article, authored by Lyle Denniston on April 22, 2014, in which Mr. Denniston expressed his opinions about the Supreme Court’s very recent decision on an Affirmative Action case:

“Casting aside a three-decade-old constitutional theory that allowed racial minorities to protect public policies that favor equality, the Supreme Court ruled on Tuesday that a state’s voters have the power to stop officials from using race to shape government programs. The lead opinion expressed the confident belief that the Court was only encouraging a useful civic conversation about race, hopefully free of rancor.”
“By a vote of six to two (with Justice Elena Kagan not taking part), the Court cleared the way for voters elsewhere in the nation to opt to put an end to so- called “affirmative action” policies — as seven states now do. While the ruling focused on the use of race in selecting new students for public colleges, it presumably also would permit voters to end race-conscious policies in hiring of state and local employees and in awarding public contracts.
You can read the full article at this link:

Blog Publisher’s Comments:
I previously expressed my views about Affirmative Action programs in a post I put up on the blog about 2 ½ years ago:
When a reprographics services BID or RFP – in the government sector - is designated as a “set-aside” for MBE, DBE, or WBE certified businesses, effectively excluding non-certified (and non-certifiable) businesses from participating in the BID or RFP, that, generally speaking, reduces competition and, again generally speaking, means that taxpayers are going to wind up paying more than might otherwise have been the case. 
If the BID/RFP isn’t a “set-aside” and, instead, provides a “bid preference”, meaning that a certified vendor can bid higher than a non-certified vendor and still be awarded the BID (or RFP), that also means that taxpayers are going to foot a higher bill than would otherwise have been the case. 
And, when a government agency hires a design/build or A/E/C team to design/construct a large project, let’s say it’s a new airport terminal or a courthouse, and requires the A/E/C team to spend at least a certain specific percentage of the total-project-spend with MBE, DBE, or WBE vendors (this, refers to “quotas” or “goals”), which, in the A/E/C space, often prohibits non-certified businesses from participating, at all, in these types of projects, that, too, drives up the cost to taxpayers.

So, my conclusion is that, if taxpayers don’t want to pay more than would otherwise be the case they have to vote into office representatives who will sponsor and/or vote for bills that ban Affirmative Action programs in their states.  I don’t see this happening in my lifetimes, even though, gee-whiz, everyone seems to complain and whine about the cost of government.

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