Campaign for Budget Transparency

IMPROVING TRANSPARENCY, IMPROVING ACCOUNTABILITY—The ability to see how government collects and spends money is fundamental to a thriving, participatory democracy.

Let The Public Follow the Money

Public budgets are the most concrete expression of public values and priorities—articulated in dollars and cents. As states grapple with difficult decisions to make budgetary ends meet, opening the state checkbook to the public provides an important tool that allows both citizens and civil servants to make informed choices.

Unfortunately, too often public subsidies, tax breaks or special deals are granted to powerful corporate interests at the taxpayers’ expense. When this happens, Massachusetts residents are stuck with the tab, or public resources and services end up threatened.

Transparency in government spending checks corruption, promotes fiscal responsibility and allows for greater, more meaningful participation in our democratic system.

MASSPIRG is working to make all government spending and budgeting fully transparent, on an easy-to-use and comprehensive website.

While the Commonwealth has made significant improvements since we started our campaign in providing public access to state spending and revenue on the Transparency Massachusetts website, even earning an A in our Following the Money 2015 report,  there is still more to do, including providing more budget information on all quasi-public agencies, tax expenditures, and municipalities, as well as access to all contracts.

Issue updates

News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

Report Shows Corporations Paying Few State Taxes

A comprehensive new study, from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, profiles the 265 consistently profitable Fortune 500 corporations finding that 68 companies paid no state corporate income tax in at least one of the last three years and 20 of these corporations averaged a tax rate of zero or less during the 2008-2010 period.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

New State Spending Website Launched

MASSPIRG joined government leaders today as they officially unveiled their new, easy-to-use comprehensive state spending website at the State House Library.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

Supercommittee Squanders Opportunity to Cut Waste

After the Congressional “Supercommittee” announced its failure to agree on at least $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction, the MASSPIRG and National Taxpayers Union (NTU), who jointly authored a report on deficit reduction earlier this year, released the following joint statement.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

Seventy-Eight Corporations Paid Zero Dollars in Taxes on U.S. Profits, New Study Finds

New data reveals that 78 Fortune 500 companies did not pay any federal income taxes in at least one of the past three years, despite posting $160 billion in U.S. profits.

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Media Hit | Budget, Tax

South Coast Today - Don't let the American taxpayer get fooled again

If a kid steals a cookie, does it make sense to give him another and then hope that he won't do it again? An army of corporate lobbyists on Capitol Hill is trying to convince Congress that after stashing nearly $1.4 trillion offshore to avoid paying the U.S. taxes they owe, they should get a massive tax discount for bringing the money back to America.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

Statement of MASSPIRG's Deirdre Cummings on the Passage of Obama’s Budget Plan

The budget resolution passed by Congress today prioritizes students over banks, consumers over insurance companies and taxpayers over entrenched special interests. 

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

On Tax Day, New Report Showing US Corporations Avoid Taxes

Major US corporations avoid as much as $100 billion a year in federal taxes by hiding profits in foreign countries.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

Bush fails new TARP report card, group will monitor Obama bailout plans

Without better oversight, the TARP bank bailout program will continue to fail.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

New National Poll finds Strong, Bipartisan Demand for Transparency in Economic Recovery Package

An overwhelming majority of voters want full and open reporting on how Recovery Act funds are spent at federal and state levels, according to a nationwide survey.

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News Release | MASSPIRG | Budget, Tax

MASSPIRG Released A New Transparent Budget Report: Transparency.gov2.0

MASSPIRG released a new report today highlighting the benefits and need for an open and transparent state budget.

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Blog Post

New story in the Boston Globe today found at least 19 "quasi-public" agencies in Massachusetts failed to publish millions of dollars in payroll and spending data on the state's transparency website as required by a MASSPIRG backed 2010 law that mandated the public disclosures. 

Report | MASSPIRG Education Fund

Massachusetts received a “B-” for its government spending transparency website, according to “Following the Money 2018: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the eighth report of its kind.

News Release | US PIRG

Below is a statement from U.S. PIRG Program Advocate Michelle Surka on the proposed House tax bill's impacts on our debt:

“The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act, introduced this morning in the House, is an exercise in fiscal recklessness, exploding the budget deficit while failing to close the biggest tax loopholes and relying on gimmicks to obscure the impact on the national debt. Rather than make prudent trade-offs to achieve the President's promised tax cuts, this bill twists itself into knots attempting to distract from the bottom line: it will add trillions to our deficit."

News Release | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND

Small business in Massachusetts would have to shoulder an extra $5,845 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the abuse of offshore tax havens by multinational corporations, according to a new report by MASSPIRG Education Fund. 

Report | MASSPIRG EDUCATION FUND

As a new administration takes office and the possibility of tax reform again enters the national conversation, the report highlights how it’s small domestic businesses and ordinary Americans that have to shoulder the burden of multinational tax avoidance.

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