Massachusetts Fair Share

We stand up for a Massachusetts where everyone gets a fair shot, does and pays their fair share, and plays by the same rules.

Massachusetts Fair Share testifies in support of tax transparency

Written testimony of Nathan Proctor, State Director of Massachusetts Fair Share to be submitted to the Joint Committee on Revenue, Sept. 22, 2015.

 

Thank you Chairman Rodrigues, Chairman Kaufman, and members of the Committee for the opportunity to comment on important tax transparency matters.

I am writing in support of legislation before you that would provide greater transparency around corporate tax expenditures in the Commonwealth (H. 6, Bump; H. 2572, Kaufman).

Massachusetts Fair Share also supports S. 1454, Chang-Diaz, which would require corporate tax expenditures be renewed every three years, and requires new expenditures to express measurable goals.

Tax subsidies to business are a large portion of the budget (estimated to be more than $3 billion), and we feel that spending is not adequately held to standards of efficiency and accountability that apply to other kinds of spending in the state budget. Massachusetts has needs to be met — from repairing transportation infrastructure to expanding early education — and we need the tools to evaluate the best use of our dollars in the tax code just as we do with other programs.

We simply can’t afford to give away billions in tax subsidies without some opportunity to ensure these credits are being used in good faith and offer a meaningful public benefit to the people of Massachusetts.

Already, 37 states grant their state auditor the oversight proposed in H. 6 and H. 2572. Opponents have claimed this policy would give the Auditor’s office “uncontrolled access” to corporate information, and expose businesses to unnecessary risk. The real unnecessary risk, however, is not having the power to review if the tax breaks and credits are warranted, and benefit the public.

Thank you for considering this important legislation.

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