How Competitive Contracting Can Help Balance the Budget without Raising Taxes
Washington lawmakers again face a multi-billion dollar budget deficit, meaning they will either increase the amount of money they collect from citizens each year, or re-evaluate the way they deliver core services to the public. Increasing taxes during a recession would add economic hardship, while changing the way services are delivered offers part of the solution to closing the deficit without raising taxes.
One tool available for improving service delivery is Washington’s competitive contracting law, passed as part of civil service reform and signed by Governor Gary Locke in 2002. The legislature and Governor Locke authorized state agencies to open up public work traditionally held as an in-house government monopoly to competitive bids from the open market. Public employees are encouraged to participate in the bidding process, because the intent of the law is not to benefit private companies, but to secure the best service for the public no matter who does the work.