Municipal Finance Oversight Board: Fall River, Pittsfield, New Bedford
April 27, 2011
The Municipal Finance Oversight Board, chaired by Auditor Suzanne Bump, approved applications from Fall River, Pittsfield, and New Bedford to issue qualified bonds using the state’s bond rating. These communities will use the bonds to fund a variety of projects and manage existing debt.
MetroWest Daily News: Track tax break results
April 25, 2011
People enjoy seeing movie stars at work in their towns and local places on the big screen, and we've been seeing a lot of that since Massachusetts lured movie-makers here with generous tax breaks. State leaders praise the results of the tax breaks, state, but there's a big hole in the plot.
A new study finds there is no way to know if those revenue sacrifices - whether for blockbuster movies or high-tech startup companies - are a smart investment or expensive folly.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump recently looked at 92 business tax breaks or credits offered by the state and found that only seven called for periodic reviews to determine their value. Only 10 had provisions allowing the state to get back some of the billions of dollars in taxes it forfeits if a company doesn't meet job-creation goals or other benchmarks.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Housing agency faulted in audit
April 23, 2011
A recently released report by the state auditor’s office says the Auburn Housing Authority kept insufficient records on an $88,269 grant it received from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act for work on capital improvements during the transfer of 43-state owned units to federal ownership.
In an audit released on Thursday covering the period from April 1, 2008, through June 30, 2010, the state auditor’s office said there were no problems found with the AHA’s operational practices, including its vacancy turnover and its inspection of the 190 public housing units the authority oversees.
However, the report said the AHA wasn’t properly utilizing or accounting for the $88,269 grant it received through the ARRA. The audit cited the AHA for hiring contractors without meeting the prevailing wage requirements and for keeping insufficient records on the number of jobs the grant created or retained.
Patriot Ledger: Hull Housing Authority credited with making improvements
April 22, 2011
The state auditor’s office has cited the Hull Housing Authority for management improvements it has made, according to a report released Thursday. The audit found that the authority had addressed concerns cited in a previous audit.
The improvements included maintaining and updating a waiting list, making timely payments in lieu of taxes to the the town, decreasing the amount of lost tenant revenue, and making efforts to fill vacant units in a timely manner.
Auditor Bump Finds Mixed Improvements at Local Housing Authorities
April 21, 2011
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released audits that cited improvements at three local housing authorities that provide hundreds of units for seniors and families in Southwick, Auburn, and Hull. However, the reports also revealed continued problems at Southwick and Auburn housing authorities.
Auditor Bump found that turnaround rates for vacant units got worse at Southwick Housing Authority. A previous audit criticized the authority for taking 45 days to re-rent a unit when state guidelines call for a maximum 21 day turnaround rate. Findings from today’s audit show it now takes Southwick 51 days to prepare a vacant unit for occupancy.
“Public housing is a crucial service for the most vulnerable,” said Auditor Bump. “Higher turnover rates mean longer waiting lists for those in immediate need. It also means tax dollars are being wasted on higher cost motels, hotels or other interim housing.”
Auditor Bump chairs meeting of Municipal Finance Oversight Board
April 20, 2011
The Municipal Finance Oversight Board, chaired by Auditor Suzanne Bump, approved applications from Brockton, Stoughton, Methuen to issue qualified bonds using the state’s bond rating. These communities will use the bonds to fund a variety of projects and manage existing debt.
WHDH News 7: Auditor says $2B in Mass. tax breaks unchecked
April 7, 2011
Massachusetts hands out more than $2 billion in business tax breaks annually with no mechanisms for reviewing their effectiveness or recouping lost revenue if the exemptions fail to produce the desired results, an analysis by the state auditor shows.
Auditor Suzanne Bump reviewed 92 business tax breaks or credits, many dating back decades, and determined that only seven had so-called sunset clauses, automatic reviews of a law after a fixed period of time, and only 10 had clawback provisions allowing the state to get back some of the taxes if a company doesn't meet job creation goals or other benchmarks.
The tax breaks on the books containing no sunset or clawback provisions would total $2.1 billion in foregone revenue during the fiscal year starting July 1, Bump concluded. The auditor planned to present her findings Thursday at a hearing of the Legislature's Revenue Committee.
Auditor Bump Finds State Tax Code Lacks Accountability
April 7, 2011
In testimony before the Joint Committee on Revenue, Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said the state grants Massachusetts businesses more than $2 billion in tax credits, deferrals, deductions and sales tax exemptions. An initial Auditor’s review of these tax expenditures shows the tax code lacks accountability and transparency.
Press Release: Auditor Bump Finds Business Tax Code Lacks Accountability, Transparency
Testimony: Testimony of Auditor Suzanne M. Bump Before the Joint Committee on Revenue Relative to Economic Development Tax Expenditures
Special Report: Business Tax Expenditure Review Database
Special Report: Initial Review of Business Tax Expenditures
iBerkshires.com: State Auditor Talks Money, Politics and Honesty
April 4, 2011
Most fourth-graders don't know who their state senator is, but thanks to a visit from Suzanne Bump, pupils at Undermountain Elementary School know who their auditor is and what she does at the State House.
64th Annual Student Government Day
April 1, 2011
Over 300 high school students from across the Commonwealth came to Beacon Hill to learn how laws are made and public policy is developed. Each high school elects students to take on the roles of the Governor, Lt. Governor, Representative, Senator, and constitutional officers for the day which included participating in mock hearings and legislative sessions. Auditor Suzanne Bump met with the two “Student Auditors,” Kyle Koloski and Nathan Flannary from Easthampton High School and other student leaders to educate them about the greater role she believes the Auditor’s office should play in state government oversight.