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

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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News Release | MASSPIRG

Boston -- Massachusetts received a “C” for making critical information about how governments are subsidizing business projects with taxpayer dollars readily available to the public online, according to a new report from MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group. Following the Money 2019, the organization’s tenth evaluation of online government spending transparency, gives 17 states a failing grade, while only four states received a grade of “B” or higher.

Report | MASSPIRG

Boston -- Massachusetts received a “C” for making critical information about how governments are subsidizing business projects with taxpayer dollars readily available to the public online, according to a new report from MASSPIRG Education Fund and Frontier Group. Following the Money 2019, the organization’s tenth evaluation of online government spending transparency, gives 17 states a failing grade, while only four states received a grade of “B” or higher.

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- Too many corporations dodge both state and federal taxes by shifting U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. However, a State House legislative committee held a public hearing today on a new bill that could help the state recoup $699 million dollars even without further reforms from Congress. The bill, HB 3787, An Act relative to tax havens and complete reporting, filed by Representative Josh Cutler (Duxbury), would move the state to a “Complete Reporting” system, eliminating loopholes that allow companies to book profits made in the state offshore.

News Release | MASSPIRG

BOSTON -- Too many corporations dodge both state and federal taxes by shifting U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens. However, a bill introduced on Beacon Hill could help the state recoup $699 million dollars even without further reforms from Congress. The bill, HD 1089, An Act relative to tax havens and complete reporting, filed by Representative Josh Cutler (Duxbury), would move the state to a “Complete Reporting” system, eliminating loopholes that allow companies to book profits made in the state offshore.

Report | MASSPIRG

Every year, corporations use complicated schemes to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes—in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. This new report outline how states can prevent this practice. 

Budget

Following the Money 2019

Our 10th report on government spending transparency rates all 50 states on the degree to which they make information about corporate tax breaks and other subsidies available online.

 

Budget | U.S. PIRG

Blueprint for tomorrow

Our report highlights which investments will alleviate the most dire problems America faces as a result of crumbling or outdated infrastructure.

 
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