It came to my attention last week that Governor Baker signed an executive order expanding a Patrick Administration program called the “Supplier Diversity Program.”
Baker touted the “first-in-the-nation LGBT-owned business certification partnership” between the state and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).
The SDP was established in 2010 to promote affirmative action by including minority- and women-owned businesses in public contracting.
This is wrong-headed on several levels. It is wasteful, morally inverts the cause of civil rights, and quite bluntly harms the causes of Governor Baker’s Republicans down-ticket allies.
Let’s start with the moral argument, and reference existing non-discrimination laws:
https://malegislature.gov/Laws/GeneralLaws/PartI/TitleXXI/Chapter151B/Section4 – Unlawful practices
“ 3. For any employer or employment agency to print or circulate or cause to be printed or circulated any statement, advertisement or publication, or to use any form of application for employment or to make any inquiry or record in connection with employment, which expresses, directly or indirectly, any limitation, specification or discrimination as to the race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, which shall not include persons whose sexual orientation involves minor children as the sex object, age, genetic information or ancestry, or the handicap of a qualified handicapped person or any intent to make any such limitation, specification or discrimination, or to discriminate in any way on the ground of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, age, genetic information, ancestry or the handicap of a qualified handicapped person, unless based upon a bona fide occupational qualification.”
If it is illegal for an employer to print or circulate anything that might be referential to these categories, why do we have an entire taxpayer-funded office dedicated to ascertaining and certifying contractors based on them?
For over 230 years, including 3 years under Deval Patrick, Massachusetts managed to have fair contracting practices without this odious program. It is easy to understand why Governor Patrick would create this program: It creates another $500,000+ worth of government hack jobs to make a feel-good statement about “diversity” and “inclusion.”
What does it say about our state though when we have a program highlighting the race, sex, orientation, etc. of applicants? It says that we have taken Martin Luther King Jr.’s admonition that we should live in a united society and throws it into the garbage.
It says “Oh, you are a woman? You can’t make it without government. Let us tax the many and bestow upon your business a contract environment that explicitly states you are eligible for an advantage because of your sex.” It is like giving the applicant a scarlet letter that says they have the contract not because they offered the taxpayers the best service at the lowest price, but because the owner has a certain genitalia or a certain skin color.
2012: $ 542,000
2013: $ 533,000
2014: $ 544,000
2015 Projected: $542,000
Over 95% of this office’s cost is compensation and benefits. The actual operating costs on average have been a little over $25,000 over the past 3 years.
How can Governor Baker possibly justify this level of compensation for an office set up for such an immoral and arguably illegal purpose?
Harmful to Down-Ticket Republicans:
Finally, Governor Baker’s reason for expanding the program must be examined. The original article cited indicated Governor Baker was “touting” a “first-in-the-nation LGBT-owned business certification partnership” between the state and the National Gay & Lesbian Chamber of Commerce (NGLCC).”
With due respect Governor Baker, I understand you bill yourself as “to the left of Barack Obama on social issues,” but here is how the NGLCC Board contributes political donations:
So perhaps you feel that way, but why are you touting a partnership with a group almost certain to be pulling 100% for Elizabeth Warren and every down-ticket Democrat, including your Democratic opponent for Governor (whomever he or she may be) in 2018?
Instead of trying to make Massachusetts the cutting edge of social liberalism, why not work on knocking Massachusetts out of the top four in debt-per-capita (http://www.golocalworcester.com/news/massachusetts-state-debt-among-highest-in-us).
I’ve just identified over $500,000 per annum you can put towards that goal.
A final note / Exit Questions:
Executive Order text: http://www.mass.gov/governor/legislationexecorder/execorders/executive-order-no-565.html
I imagine the counterargument from the Baker Administration to this criticism will be that the program also expanded to include Veteran and Disabled Business Owners. If you want to reward our veterans for their service there are better ways to do it than spending $500,000+ on an immoral affirmative action program. The disabled also deserve better than to hear from the government that they need an assistance program to compete with other contractors.
This program is indefensible. Even Governor Patrick didn’t see a need to create it until 3 years into his administration. Why does this wasteful, immoral office still exist? Why are you expanding it instead of shutting it down?
And why should down-ticket Republicans be harmed by your partnerships with groups that do not vote for you and organize against the people you will need to sustain a veto in 2017 and 2018?