State Representative Tim Larson (D-East Hartford, Manchester, South Windsor) said Connecticut companies deserve a little local bias from the state when competing with out-of-state contractors on taxpayer-funded projects.
Larson was upset to learn that United Steel of East Hartford lost out on their $2.9 million bid to supply structural steel for the planned University of Connecticut basketball practice facility by $1,000 to Schenectady Steel Co. Inc. of New York. UConn officials told Larson they had no flexibility under state bid rules.
"We should always be looking for the best deal for taxpayers, and frankly for $1,000 the best deal is to give the work to a local company with local jobs," said Larson, a member of the legislature's Finance, Revenue and Bonding Committee. "I understand the concern over potential retaliation from other states, but states are already competing for businesses by handing out multi-million dollar tax breaks."
Larson is submitting legislation that will give what he calls a "slight" preference for state companies by adding a few bonus points to local bids. "I envision this allowing for a measure of local consideration under our strict bid rules as a way to help our state's economy - which everyone agrees we need to do," he said.