Critics Claim Texas Government Spends Too Much on Promotional Products
Last year, we reported that the Oklahoma state government was looking into spending less money on promotional products. Now, critics say that the Texas state government is spending too much taxpayer money on promotional items, like mugs, blankets and tumblers.
According to KHOU 11 News, Texas state agencies spent more than $8.8 million on promotional items between September 2008 and December 2015.
Bryan Black, a spokesperson for the Health and Human Services Commission, which bought juggling balls as a promotion, told KHOU 11 News that the items served an educational purpose.
"These items were purchased and utilized to reinforce training concepts," Black said. "Different quality control scenarios are written on the balls, and the balls were then used as a tool for the participants to answer scenario-based questions and apply the information presented during the class to reinforce learning."
Other government entities have tried to limit promotional spending in the past. In 2011, President Obama signed an executive order to decrease federal funding on promotional products by 20 percent. That same year, then California Gov. Jerry Brown banned official California state promotional products.
Seth Hutchinson, vice president of the Texas State Employees Union, told KHOU 11 News that the money spent on promotional items could be better used to pay employees.
"These trinkets and everything—it's a nice gesture, but that doesn't put food on a state employee's table," he said. "These trinkets are not a replacement for a real raise for these state workers."
Paul Bellantone, president and CEO of Promotional Products Association International (PPAI), commented on the issue as well.
"Research shows that employee engagement is linked to customer satisfaction and organizational performance," he told KHOU 11 News. "Better than half of America's largest companies use motivation programs as part of their business strategies."
What do you think? Is this an attack on the promotional products industry? Are the critics justified in their beliefs? Let us know in the comment section.