NCPA - National Center for Policy Analysis


December 5, 2007

There are more than three dozen gender and racial preference programs currently being used by various levels of government in Arizona by state's three public universities, K-12 education, and government contracting and employment, say Clint Bolick, Director, Center for Constitutional Litigation, and John Robb, a senior fellow with the Goldwater Institute.

Consider government contracting preferences:

  • Programs like the City of Phoenix's Minority- and Women-Owned Business Enterprise Certification Program provide contracting advantages to businesses that are at least 51 percent owned by women or minorities.
  • If companies qualify for this certification, they are automatically awarded a 2.5 percent "bid incentive" on contracts ranging between $250,000 and $500,000.
  • This incentive allows their bid to be up to 2.5 percent higher than competing bids and remain in consideration; under those circumstances Phoenix taxpayers could pay $6,250 to $12,500 more for a service.

Tucson's preference-based contracting system allows for even higher bid incentives, between five and seven percent based on the size of the contract.  Phoenix can also reserve contracts that are only open to these certified businesses.

The list of preferences identified is far from comprehensive; it was pulled together by a cursory search of government agency and university program descriptions publicly available on the Internet, say Bolick and Robb.  The list does, however, begin to answer questions about the use and pervasiveness of racial and gender preferences in Arizona.

Source: "Racial Preferences Rampant in Arizona Government," Goldwater Institute, December 4, 2007.


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