Businesses awarded state contracts in New Jersey may have to rely more on products made in the U.S.
New Jersey already requires the purchase of domestic-manufactured goods to fulfill state construction and local schools contracts.
Lawmakers are now considering a bill to extend that requirement to contracts negotiated by colleges and bi-state authorities.
There is a concern that the measure might prevent a contract from going to the lowest bidder, said Assemblyman Joe Lagana, D-Bergen.
“If it was inconsistent with public interest, if the products were not satisfactory, there would be a waiver upon application and non-U.S.-made products would be used in those circumstances,” he said.
The bill also allows for a waiver if U.S. manufactured goods were too costly.
The intent is to boost domestic manufacturing and create jobs, said Assemblyman Pat Diegnan.
“We should give a benefit and a preference to goods that are made in the United States, but there is a provision in the bill that if it is too costly, there would be a 30-day provision to waive that particular requirement,” said Diegnan, D-Middlesex.
The measure has bipartisan sponsors, but there’s no indication whether Gov. Chris Christie would sign it into law if it makes it through the Legislature.