Time to shed some light, and bring in some air to the State House!
A few facts to remember:
1. If the Tax Expenditure Budget (you know, loop holes and giveaways) was trimmed by 10% – that is $2.6 billion and no cuts would be needed to anything.
2. If the Tax Expenditure Budget was trimmed by 20% – that would be $5.2 billion and we could begin rebuilding the Commonwealth. After all, it is shameful that this state is 47th in its support for public higher education, charges the largest counsel fee in the nation, and is dismantling one of the best indigent defense systems going in favor of assembly-line psuedo justice.
There has NEVER been a review of the Tax Expenditure Budget. That’s right – NEVER as in not once.
81% of the Tax Expenditure Budget has no sunset clauses, no clawbacks, and no requirement to report back to the legislature as to how the money was used. (Yes, you read this correctly). The lack of any open meeting laws or true FOIA lets these things happen in the secret, in the dark as it were.
Rep. Jay Kaufman, who has doggedly continued to chair the Revenue Committee succeeded in getting an oversight Commission legislated into existence to examine, trim back, rein in, audit, and otherwise take back as many of these giveaways as do not look good in the light of day, and do not smell so sweet once they are examined.
For those interested, the meetings of this Commission are Public (but I am unclear how to find out when they are). if someone knows when the Commission meets, I would love to see it posted here. Anyway, the members of the Commission are.
Jay Gonzalez (Sec. of Admin and Finance, an attorney)
Suzanne Bump, Auditor
Steve Grossman, Treasurer
Jay Kaufman, Chair House Revenue Committee
Rep. Kathryn Clark
Senator Brewer, Senate Chair of Ways and Means
Rep. Dempsey, House Chair of Ways and Means
Allen Clayton Matthews, a professor
No more cuts are – or should be needed. Also, it is the politically vulnerable who are not in a position to donate to campaigns or speak out (like the Judicial Branch, the disabled, students, indigent defendants and kids in foster care) who absorb a disproportionate number of these cuts. Shameful, really.