Audit of Alaska's Procurement Preference Statute Released
When the Alaska state government purchases fish or agricultural products, it is required to use Alaska Grown products when possible (as long as the Alaska product is no more than 7% more expensive). Recently, the Division of Legislative Audit (DLA) released a report concluding that the preference is not accomplishing that objective, and recommending five changes that different entities can make to improve use of the procurement. You can read the full audit including recommendations and responses from the various entities mentioned, here
One reason the state does not buy more local is that, often, the local product is more than 7% more expensive. But some products are cheaper to buy within Alaska, especially once you factor in shipping costs, and those include green cabbage, carrots, romaine lettuce, and potatoes (see page 20 of the audit).
However, government entities still don't buy those products local. One reason is that many contract with third party vendors to do their food purchasing, and those vendors are not required to buy Alaskan. The auditors suggested that the state begin including a preference for Alaska grown in their contracts with these outside vendors, but the Department of Administration raised questions about whether they are allowed to do that under the law. Representative Tarr is following up to get a legal opinion about whether this is true.
Other departments that received specific recommendations responded concurring with the recommendations and agreeing to take steps to follow them, which is a great step in the right direction.
After the report was released, Rep. Tarr spoke with stakeholders about the audit and is working to get follow-up questions answered We look forward to reporting further developments to all of you!