There has been much talk lately of Buy American; Build American; Use American Materials; and finally, Hire American. For the most part, we all agree with this sentiment. We cannot solve the problems of the world when we have not solved the problems right here at home.
As our economy has taken a beating over the last decade plus, when we have witnessed job out-sourcing overseas and watched the American worker struggle to make ends meet, we all appreciate the emphasis on our country and our economy.
The latest proposal out of Augusta, however, takes the concept one step too far. There is a provision in the “Buy American” legislation proposal seeks to give a preference to Maine businesses bidding on Maine projects. On the surface, this sounds great and makes sense. Unfortunately, the details lie beneath the surface and that is where the issue is.
When states give preference to businesses located in the borders of their land, they run the risk of a retaliation against Maine businesses when they bid on out-of-state contracts. Think about it logically. Many Maine companies do business in a wide variety of geographical locations.
If Maine gives a preference to Maine businesses, other states will do the same and it creates a big disadvantage for Maine companies who are competing for out-of-state work.
I hope our leaders in Augusta will think this process through all the way to the finish line.