Ron Pigott, Director of TPASS
Q: What is TxSmartBuy?
A: Texas Smart Buy (TxSmartBuy) is an online ordering system we launched in 2009 for state agencies, universities and all levels of local government, including school districts and water districts, to be able to get online and order their items at one time. For example, they would be able to order pencils and road asphalts at one time in one transaction.
Q: What benefits does TxSmartBuy offer local and state government?
A: State agencies and local governments have been able to adapt to the TxSmartBuy system by learning its efficiencies. For example, because you are able to order pencils and road aggregate at one time, you are able order multiple types of items and roll them into one transaction for a purchaser, so instead of needing six purchasers to effect multiple purchases, you need one purchaser to do it all at one time, and your efficiency is greatly increased and your costs are reduced.
Q: How does the state obtain discounts for TxSmartBuy customers?
A: All levels of government are helped by the TxSmartBuy system on our discounts for volume purchasing. Vendors will give tiered discounts to TxSmartBuy customers based on the total level of spend through our contract. For example: if there is $1 million in spending, they may give 1 percent discount; if there is $5 million in spending, they may give 5 percent discount.
Q: What procurement practices have changed?
A: We’ve also changed state procurement in the way we reach state contracts. It used to be that the state would simply put out a solicitation, vendors would submit a single priced bid and we would go with the lowest-priced vendor. What we do now is we put out a solicitation for proposals, we get the answers back from the vendors and we review them. We will sit down with them, and help them understand the requirements of the state contract. We will negotiate their pricing with them and give them a chance to come back with another dollar bid on their contract. Then we go after the lowest- priced bidder. TR
Economic Development and Analysis Profile:
Daniel Hwang, Economic Development Analyst
Role: Analysis and administration of Tax Code Chapter 313, the Texas Economic Development Act, which allows school districts to offer certain capital-intensive companies a tax credit and an eight-year limitation on the appraised value of their property subject to school district property tax. Chapter 313 was enacted in 2001 to attract large-scale capital investments and create new, high-paying jobs in Texas.
Works with: School districts, companies interested in or already participating in a Chapter 313 agreement, tax consultants, or anyone else interested in state economic development programs.
Qualifications: Holds a bachelor’s degree in Economics from UT-Austin. Daniel interned several summers in the Economic Development division working on Chapter 313 and other programs.
Quote: “I joined the Comptroller’s office to put my knowledge of economics and analytics to good use. I work with Chapter 313 and also the Event Trust Funds, and strive to help Texas to continue to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of both programs.”