$1.3 Million In Taxpayer Dollars Sacrificed On Wisconsin's Altar Of Political Correctness
Wouldn't it be nice to be so wealthy that you could just flush $1.3 million down the toilet?
Now, I recognize that nobody in their right mind would flush $1.3 million down the toilet. Unfortunately though, Wisconsin government is populated by bureaucrats and hacks who behave in ways that are far from rational. In other words, are these people nuts?
Want a case in point? Take the $1.3 million in taxpayer funds that was recently wasted in connection with a building project at UW-Stout - all in the name of affirmative action.
UW-Stout is in the process of renovating and expanding its science building. The budget for this project is $33 million (!). The Miron Construction Company, a well-respected construction firm from Neenah, submitted a bid to do the project for $28.2 million. Another well respected contractor from Fond du Lac, the CD Smith Construction Co., also made a similar, although slightly higher, bid.
Neither company was hired for the project. Instead, the State chose to hire Shaw-Lundquist Associates from St. Paul, Minnesota. The Shaw-Lundquist bid was $29.5 million (about 4.5% higher than the Miron bid).
That's right. The State of Wisconsin has hired an out-of-state contractor for the UW-Stout project and the taxpayers are paying the contractor $1.3 million more than a Wisconsin contractor would have charged. Who says that Jim Doyle doesn't have a sense of humor?
The reason for this fiscal irresponsibility is an especially slavish adherence to affirmative action - nothing more and nothing less!
According to the Wisconsin State Journal, a 1984 state law allows but does not require the state to award contracts to qualified minority-owned firms that come within 5% of the lowest bid on a state project. However, despite the permissive language of the statute, in 2007 the ever so politically correct Doyle Administration adopted a policy that required that the price preference to be given to minority contractors (as long as the total cost was within budget). The fact that the minority contractor is not based in Wisconsin is apparently irrelevant.
In other words, screw non-minority Wisconsin-based contractors and screw the taxpayers.
What makes this even worse is that Shaw-Lundquist, the minority owned contractor in this case, is hardly the type of company that needs a helping hand at the expense of the taxpayers. Instead, Shaw-Lundquist is the largest Asian-owned general contractor in the country with $75 million in annual revenues!
I understand why some people think that the government should go out of its way to help small companies trying to get started in economically disadvantaged areas. Maybe in some situations, preferences may make sense. In this case though, there is absolutely no justification for spending $1.3 million more than necessary to ship work to a thriving out-of-state contractor.
Put simply - this whole thing stinks. It is however precisely what happens when politically correct bureaucrats start throwing around taxpayer dollars!