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Lt. Gov. Roberts to Introduce Legislation to Support Rhode Island Busniesses

Buy Local RI bills would amend state purchasing law to ensure tie bids go to RI companies and prevent unfair advantages for out-of-state companies

PROVIDENCE--- Lt. Gov. Elizabeth H. Roberts announced today that a package of “Buy Local RI” bills would be re-filed at her request. The legislation would make Rhode Island companies “first among equals” when bidding for Rhode Island state contracts and prevent out-of-state companies from receiving unfair competitive advantages.

“State government is a major consumer of goods and services, and we should be thoughtful about how the dollars we spend to procure goods and services for Rhode Island’s government impact our state’s economy,” said Roberts. “Since I launched Buy Local RI fifteen months ago, my office has received numerous calls from local business owners who are eager to find a way to successfully compete in the state purchasing process. In fact, the issue was raised directly by a small business owner at the Rhode Island Economic Summit last week. From the beginning, my position has been that the state has an important role to play in supporting local Rhode Island businesses, and must ensure that they can compete effectively for state contracts.”

The “All Things Being Equal” Buy Local RI Bill, sponsored by Representative Ruggiero and Senator DiPalms, would require that a Rhode Island vendor be selected in the event that bids from a local and an out-of-state company were judged to be equal in all other respects.

The “Reciprocal Preference Bill,” sponsored by Representative Guthrie and Senator Goodwin, would reciprocate any penalty that other states impose against Rhode Island companies in the event that a company from that state seeks a Rhode Island government contract. This will discourage other states from adopting protective preferences and ensure that out-of-state companies seeking to do business in Rhode Island do not have an unfair competitive advantage over Rhode Island companies.

The Buy Local legislative package will also include a Buy Local RI Day Resolution to be introduced in the upcoming legislative session which would create a Buy Local “day of action” to stimulate support for local businesses throughout the state.

Roberts added, “I would like to thank Representatives Guthrie and Ruggiero and Senators DiPalma and Goodwin for sponsoring this Buy Local RI package of state purchasing bills and for their commitment to strengthening and supporting Rhode Island businesses at a time when they need it the most. Studies have shown that for each dollar spent at a local business, 50% more of that dollar stays in the local economy than if that dollar were spent elsewhere.

As Chair of the Small Business Advocacy Council, Lt. Gov. Roberts launched the Buy Local RI initiative last year with a public awareness campaign encouraging Rhode Islanders to support our local businesses by buying local. The Buy Local RI initiative also launched a website, www.BuyLocalRI.org dedicated to expanding the market for local businesses and products by connecting consumers and businesses to Rhode Island companies. Independent Rhode Island businesses can register at no cost on the Buy Local RI website, which will feature a fully searchable database of Rhode Island businesses, goods and services.

Related links

Department or agency: Elizabeth Roberts, Office of the Lieutenant Governor

Online: http://www.ltgov.state.ri.us/

Release date: 01-13-2010

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