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

Report | Budget, Tax

MASSPIRG's 5 Point Plan for Fair Tax and Budget Policy

Public money should be spent for the most effective pursuit of clear public benefits or to encourage beneficial behaviors undervalued by the market. Taxes should be fair, reliable, transparent, and guided by policy goals rather than political deals. Budgeting should similarly be open, accountable, and follow long-term planning.

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2006 Congressional Score Card

The 2006 Scorecard looks at the most important public interest votes taken between February 9, 2005 and February 1, 2006 in the U.S. Congress. These votes determined the direction of federal policy on critical issues ranging from environmental preservation to health care to consumer protections.

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Report | Budget, Higher Ed

Easy Money

Over the last three decades, higher education has become an even greater necessity for all Americans. Our citizens know that the key to economic success for them and their children is to invest in education.

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Report | Budget

Major League Steal

The Red Sox are proposing to construct a 44,130 seat stadium on 15 acres of land adjacent to the present Fenway Park. The Owners of the Red Sox are poised to seek a minimum of $250 million in state and local taxpayer subsidies for the $600 million plus project.

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Pages

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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