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Cooperative Purchasing for State and Local Governments

Background

As part of the “Reinventing Government” initiative, Congress passed the Federal Acquisition Streamlining Act (FASA) of 1994. One provision of that law granted state, local, and Indian tribal governments and the Commonwealth of Puerto Rico access to federal prices for supplies and services through a cooperative purchasing program administered by the federal General Services Administration (GSA). This would allow state or local governments or their agencies to purchase a full range of merchandise and equipment from the Federal Supply Schedules (FSS), which in many cases represent substantial cost savings over direct commercial contracts. Participation in the program would be optional for any state and local government and for vendors who sell through the federal schedules program.

In 1996, Congress delayed implementation of this provision for 18 months. In the interim, Congress directed the U.S. General Accounting Office (GAO) to study the effects of including state and local governments in FSS cooperative purchasing on (1) small businesses and local dealers, (2) state and local governments themselves, and (3) other federal agencies. It also directed the GSA to submit recommendations to Congress prior to beginning the program.

GFOA Policy

The Government Finance Officers Association (GFOA) supports the cooperative purchasing program for state and local governments administered by the GSA. GFOA supports federal flexibility in implementing the cooperative purchasing program to allow state and local governments access to the federal schedules program in order to maximize the benefits or minimize the risks to all parties concerned.

Adopted: June 3, 1997