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Governor Deval Patrick signed into law critical transparency and accountability reforms, when he signed the state’s FY 2011 Budget on Wednesday. Included in the budget was the development of a comprehensive state budget and spending website coupled with improved transparency of transferable and refundable business tax credits. Together, they set a new standard for government transparency and accountability.
According to a recent state by state report, Following the Money, released by MASSPIRG, Massachusetts was lagging behind 32 other states in their transparency of detailed state spending information. “Passage of the adopted transparency and accountability reforms will certainly move Massachusetts from a lagging state to a leading state,” said Deirdre Cummings, MASSPIRG’s Legislative Director. “These reforms are a significant advancement in a more open and accountable government.”
Transparency and Accountability Reforms:
State Budget Website
The law creates an easy to use, comprehensive, searchable state budget website. The website will make transparent, to check book level detail, much of state spending and revenue sources for all state agencies, including quasi public agencies. The website will allow the public, including local officials, businesses, lawmakers, citizens, and others to see where the state is investing our tax dollars.
Transparency of Tax Credits
The second reform will provide greater transparency of the current and any new transferable or refundable tax credit programs granted to businesses in the Commonwealth. The reform requires agencies that administer these programs to provide the following information to the Department of Revenue starting in 2011: 1) the identity of the taxpayers who receive these credits; 2) the amount of the credit provided; and 3) the date the credit was issued. This information would be made public on the enhanced state budget website.
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