Virginia Moves to Give Preference to Made in USA Goods for Government Contracts

By Elizabeth Brotherton-Bunch
Apr 10 2024 |
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A new law is a good start toward reinvesting more taxpayer dollars into local workers and businesses. Will other states enact their own measures?

Virginia is the latest state to enact legislation to ensure Made in America products are given preference for state government-funded contracts.

Language in the Virginia Public Procurement Act, which passed the state legislature in March and will go into effect in July, clarifies the preference given for bids on state taxpayer-funded projects. In the case of a tie bid, goods produced in Virginia will get the first shot at the contract, followed by goods produced in the United States. If neither are available, the bid will be decided “by lot.”

While the new law isn’t as strong as Buy America preferences on the books in dozens of states across the country (along with the federal government), it is a positive step forward in the Old Dominion. American manufacturers and workers are often forced to compete for taxpayer-funded contracts against foreign firms from countries like China that are heavily subsidized and even state-owned; many of these overseas companies abide by lax or nonexistent labor and environmental laws.

It makes no sense for state taxpayer money to be sent overseas to support foreign competitors that don’t abide by the same rules that we expect from our own companies and workers. Instead, taxpayer money should be reinvested back into our own industries, supporting good-paying jobs and strengthening our ability to make the things we need.

With Virginia readying to enact this new domestic preference law, focus now turns to other states where Buy America legislation is in the works. One such state is Maine, where the Maine Buy American and Build Maine Act aims to give preference to Made in America products for state taxpayer-funded construction projects.

Maine does not currently have any domestic preferences on the books, unlike states like New York, Texas, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, New Hampshire, Illinois, Maryland, Indiana, Ohio, and Oregon. That means far too much taxpayer money goes overseas when it could have been reinvested into local workers and businesses in Maine and other states.

“State contract dollars sent overseas do not matriculate back to help the people who worked hard to earn the income creating those tax dollars,” local businessowner James McBrady wrote to Alliance for American Manufacturing supporters on Monday. “The Maine Buy American and Build Maine Act aims to change that by ensuring that those dollars are reinvested back into American workers and businesses whenever possible.”

If you live in Maine, you can help: Tell your state lawmakers to pass the Maine Buy American and Build Maine Act!