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The Hometown Advantage

Local First. The purchasing policies of cities, schools, universities, hospitals, etc. should be about supporting local from within. How local are you?

by Kat Merrick

Local from within

When making procurement decisions, many cities and states give preference to local businesses. This Local First policy helps to nurture small businesses and to build the local economy. The spending choices of cities, schools, state governments, public universities, public hospitals, etc. should reflect our community values. They should be set in place with a principle of maximizing the local economic. These policies are about supporting local from within.

How local are you?

Nonprofit groups, educational institutions, faith organizations, and others should also be asked to adopt local purchasing preferences as well. How can we do this, you might ask? We must urge our city leaders and leaders in the community to implement a price preference for local services, goods and labor. This policy would give a modest advantage to local businesses. There are dozens of cities and towns across our nation that have adopted local business purchasing preferences. Before you write that next check in support of local charities or businesses ask yourself: How local are you?

It CAN be done – some examples

The Ventura Pier

A study commissioned by Local First Arizona reports that a purchasng contract with an independent local supplier recirculates three times as much money in the local economy as the same contract with a national firm.

In Britain, a county council found that vendors based within the county spent 76% of their county contracts locally (on wages paid to local employees and goods and services purchased from local businesses), while vendors based outside the county spent only 36% locally. The council, which has an annual procurement budget of £45 million, concluded that, if it shifted just 10% of its current spending with non‐local suppliers to local suppliers, it would generate an additional £34 million (about $65 million) for the local economy!

WE must do it

In setting standards that support local first, we not only help boost the local economy, but we also build long‐term sustainable growth from within. Contact your local government representatives and encourage them to institute local first policies. You can even show them this article!

Image credits: Slices of Light and Broc Ellinger.

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1 comment

Steve Waller December 8, 2013 - 10:25 am

Great article. Hope cities and the powers that be will listen.


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