The State Worker

April 1, 2014

Assembly resolution blasts outsourcing

An Assembly resolution against government contracting is drawing fire from local governments and business groups for what they contend is a pledge against giving work to outside interests.

The State Worker

Jon Ortiz chronicles civil-service life for California state workers

An Assembly resolution against government contracting is drawing fire from local governments and business groups for what they contend is a pledge against giving work to outside interests.

House Resolution 29 by Assemblyman Jimmy Gomez, D-Los Angeles, sets up it’s anti-outsourcing position with a number of findings: The policy undermines “the underpinnings of democracy itself” – transparency, accountability, and shared prosperity and competition. It gives taxpayers less say over government spending. And, the resolution says, contracting government business to private entities fuels what are often substandard wages for contract employees.

“... the Assembly opposes outsourcing of public services and assets, which harms transparency, accountability, shared prosperity, and competition, and supports processes that give public service workers the opportunity to develop their own plan on how to deliver cost-effective, high-quality services,” the resolution says.

The resolution, which doesn’t have the force of law, “urges local officials to become familiar with the provisions of the Taxpayer Empowerment Agenda.”

That agenda calls for government to be more accountable with its contracting agreements and to require contractors meet certain standards, such as paying contract employees a living wage. It also encourages governments to ban contract language that guarantees profits from government work. The agenda was developed by an affiliate of The Partnership for Working Families, a national coalition of community groups with ties to labor unions.

Although resolutions are usually more symbolic than substantive, reaction to HR 29 has triggered support from about a dozen unions and groups with labor and opposition from more than 60 business groups and local government employers, including the City of Sacramento and the Sacramento Municipal Utility District.

“This resolution ... would have legislators take a form of a pledge that would potentially restrict their votes on future legislation,” the League of California Cities said in its opposition letter to Gomez.

The committee’s Wednesday agenda includes hearing testimony on HR 29.

House Resolution 29

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