New Jersey’s online purchasing program has become a successful revenue tool for local governments and property taxpayers. Now, Assemblyman Ron Dancer proposes expanding and extending it.

The 11-year-old program allows local governments to use the Internet to sell surplus supplies and equipment, purchase electricity and natural gas or get online bids and quotes for goods and services.

The program is set to end as soon as the state submits a report assessing its effectiveness, according to provisions of the 2001 law.

“E-commerce is efficient and effective for taxpayers,” says Dancer. “If anything, this program was ahead of its time because it took a few years before local governments have been able to maximize its potential to get great deals for property taxpayers. It makes no sense to pull the plug on this program as soon as we have a report that will most likely confirm that online bidding is not the wave of the future. It’s a way to benefit property taxpayers right now.

Dancer’s bill would extend and expand the program for another three years allowing time to decide whether to make the program permanent, as well as eliminate the wording of the 2001 law that would have automatically terminated the E-Procurement program when the state submitted its report to the Governor and Legislature.

The legislation would expand the items towns could buy or sell such as construction and public works equipment and services and computers and information technology services. The proposal would ease the administrative burden by requiring vendors, instead of government agencies, to apply to participate.

Dancer explains, “The Internet has become a virtual swap meet offering taxpayers the benefits of supply and demand. Selling high and buying low equals greater relief for property taxpayers that can be multiplied further.”