News Release

Government Accountability Reforms Pending in Senate

For Immediate Release

MASSPIRG urges the Massachusetts senate to adopt two critical government transparency reforms, Amendment #’s 74 and 69 in the Economic Development Bill, S2345, currently before the Senate.

•    Amendment #74, Transparency in Revenues and Expenditures, Creem, Joyce, Jehlen and Tarr

The amendment will allow the public to see check-book level detail of state spending. It  directs the Secretary of Administration and Finance to create and maintain a searchable website detailing the costs, recipients, and purposes for all appropriations, including contracts, grants, subcontracts, tax expenditures and other subsidies funded by the state government. The website will include state revenue and expenses for all state agencies including the “quasi-public” agencies. The web portal shall be accessible to the public and updated on a regular basis. 

•    Amendment #69, Economic Development, Transparency and Fiscal Accountability,  Eldridge, Montigny,  Jehlen, Chang-Diaz

The amendment will allow the public to see details about all of the state’s economic development investments by requiring the DOR to report on all the economic development investments including tax reductions, tax credits and subsidies, and direct grants. All investments will include economic development benchmarks by which the investments can be measured and compared. A claw-back provision requires the recipients to return any state investment if the minimum benchmarks are not met.
  
“The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy, said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director. “Budget transparency checks corruption, bolsters public confidence in government, and promotes fiscal responsibility and efficiency.” In 1802, President Thomas Jefferson called for budget transparency in a letter to the Secretary of Treasury, Albert Gallatin, “…We might hope to see the finances of the Union as clear and intelligible as a merchant’s books, so that every member of Congress and every man of any mind in the Union should be able to comprehend them, to investigate abuses, and consequently to control them.”

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