Governor Susana Martinez announced today that the State Purchasing Division has eliminated a vendor registration fee of $100 per year for any company seeking to do business with the state. The announcement follows a recent roll-out of a new online system that allows New Mexico contractors, architects, and others to submit construction plans online to the state for approval or revisions, as opposed to having to drive to Santa Fe or spend a large amount of money on back-and-forth postage costs. The state also recently announced that it will be implementing a new e-procurement system to streamline the interaction of businesses with state government.
The decision to eliminate vendor registration fees for contractors and other companies looking to do business with state government brings the division in line with business practices used by school districts and local governments in New Mexico. The vendor registration fund was an enterprise fund that generated $158,000 in Fiscal Year 2012, but the division has begun shifting to online and automated functions that will improve the efficiency of operations and no longer require small businesses to submit a $100 registration payment to the state each year.
"Elimination of this registration fee is a small but important way in which we can make it easier for small businesses to operate in New Mexico and do business with the state," said Governor Martinez.
Besides the elimination of a vendor registration fee that has been in place since 1984, companies will enjoy numerous benefits aimed at streamlining business processing for both sides. Vendors will be able to self-register their companies, reducing input errors in the state database. Also, the bid process will be more transparent, allowing all vendors to view solicitations. Previously, those who hadn't paid the $100 fee saw only partial information and would need to request additional details from the State Purchasing Division.
The action will be retroactive to July 1, meaning any company that paid the $100 fee for Fiscal Year 2013 will have the money returned.
Last month, Governor Martinez announced an electronic plan review system that will expedite the approval of construction, design, and architectural plans by the state's Construction Industries Division. Previously, all plans were required to be sent by mail or hand delivered for reviews at CID offices in Santa Fe, Albuquerque, and Las Cruces. Plans were marked up manually and mailed back to contractors, who were in turn required to make proposed changes and mail revised copies back to the agency. The process took several weeks and could cost businesses hundreds of dollars.
In June, the state announced that it will be moving toward a paperless system for bids on state contracts as well as a centralized electronic database that allows tracking of contract delivery and completion dates. The paperless e-procurement system is expected to save $2.1 million over three years.