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Measure and Disclose the Costs of Public Contracts

Budget Transparency Advances Across Country

Last week, the Massachusetts House unanimously passed the Revenues and Expenditures Transparency Act, H 2972, to create a searchable, online database that details state spending and revenue sources.  Lawmakers also approved an amendment to create greater taxpayer accountability by providing increased transparency around some business tax credits.  As House Chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue Rep. Jay Kauffman explains, "[p]ublic access to the way we raise and spend money is essential, enabling us to make more-informed decisions for the tax-paying constituents who elect us to serve on their behalf."

Federal Officials Critical of Privatization Debacles in the States

In a meeting with Texas officials last week, Kevin Concannon, Under Secretary of Food, Nutrition, and Consumer Services at the United States Department of Agriculture (USDA), claimed that there had been a drastic reduction in the timeliness and accuracy of food stamp provisions in the state following the implementation of a privatized system.  In fact, Texas now has the worst performing food stamp program in the entire country.

Corporate Transparency in State Budgets

As part of the Progressive States Network’s 2010 Shared Multi-State Agenda, we are advancing a corporate transparency initiative in coordination with key allies and experts.  Demand for transparency in government is rising, but most states still do not collect even the most basic, critical data from recipients of state grants, state contracts or tax breaks.  In this Dispatch, we will examine the need for corporate transparency, recent cases relating to the subject, and how the policy will benefit states dealing with massive deficits.