A Goldwater Institute report identifies three dozen government contracting, hiring and university programs in Arizona that give preferences based on race and gender.
The report coincides with a proposed state ballot measure that would prohibit government entities from giving education, hiring and procurement preferences to women and minorities.
The report from Phoenix-based Goldwater says the state government -- via executive orders by Gov. Janet Napolitano -- encourages agencies to contract with minority and women-owned firms. One order requires state entities to get at least one quote during the procurement process from a company owned by a woman and/or minority. The state also created a database of small, minority and women-owned businesses for use by state procurement officers, the report said.
Hiring preferences for minorities and women can be found at state universities as well as the Maricopa and Pima County governments, Goldwater said. State universities also have programs tailored to minorities that the group contends amount to special preferences.
The 2008 ballot proposal is backed by Maricopa County Attorney Andrew Thomas and mirrors anti-affirmative action referendums passed in California and Michigan. It would prohibit any kind of racial or gender preference in government contracts and employment as well as at public schools and universities in Arizona. It is opposed by the ACLU, Arizona National Organization for Women, NAACP, Chicanos por la Causa and Manny Cisneros, director of Napolitano's Office of Equal Opportunity.