Bay State Banner: Tax credits require the transparency of a formal audit
December 31, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Bay State Banner.
Corporate tax credits and concessions reduce the state revenue available to finance the public’s business. State Auditor Suzanne Bump seeks the authority to assess these programs to determine whether such tax expenditures are truly beneficial...
...there should also be a way to evaluate whether the benefits to the community are greater than the cost of the tax expenditures. The Department of Revenue (DOR) can determine in a tax audit whether the deductions have been taken appropriately, but there is no regular assessment of the value of the tax incentives to the city or state.
The state auditor already has the authority to investigate to determine whether state programs attain their established goals. It makes no sense to reinvent the wheel and create another state agency to make an equivalent assessment of tax concessions.
Patriot Ledger: Quincy dentist engaged in pervasive MassHealth fraud
December 12, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger
A new state audit accuses a Quincy dentist of collecting $154,019 in questionable claims from MassHealth.
A report issued Wednesday by State Auditor Suzanne Bump says Dr. Shahrzad Haghayegh-Askarian, who owns her own private dental practice and runs Hancock Dental in Wollaston, repeatedly claimed MassHealth funds for unallowable and sometimes medically excessive procedures from 2008 through 2011. Bump has referred her audit to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office for review.
Bump said Haghayegh “systematically bilked the MassHealth dental program.” She said MassHealth funding makes up 30 percent of the state budget, and abuse of the program is an affront to taxpayers.
“It’s an area that warrants ongoing review,” Bump said.
Read more from the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
12/12/13 - Boston Herald
Auditor Bump appoints three to state advisory council
December 4, 2013
Today State Auditor Suzanne Bump administered the oath of office for her three appointments to the Commonwealth’s Personal Care Attendant Quality Home Care Workforce Council (PCA Council).
Auditor Bump’s appointees include:
- Paul Spooner of Taunton
- Anne Johansen of Quincy
- Cindy Purcell of Rutland
The Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program is a MassHealth program that helps people with long-term disabilities live independently at home. The PCA program gives each eligible MassHealth member funds to hire a personal care attendant to help with activities of daily living.
The PCA Council is a legislatively created governmental body which uses citizen engagement as an instrument for strengthening the PCA program. The Council consists of 9 members. Other appointments are made by the Governor and the Attorney General. Council members serve a three year term.
State Representatives Tackey Chan, Kimberly Ferguson, and Shaunna O’Connell were also in attendance.
Fall River Herald News Editorial: Auditing Mass. Business Tax Breaks
December 4, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Fall River Herald News.
The state auditor’s office plays a crucial function in ensuring that taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely. As such, the elected office independently audits the programs administered by nearly every state agency. But the agency in charge of collecting tax dollars and administering a wide array of business-related tax breaks valued at $2 billion has very limited outside oversight.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump wants to change that. Bump and state Rep. Jay Kaufman, House chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue, have each filed twin legislation that would allow her office to analyze the business tax returns of companies that receive any of the 91 tax breaks available to see that those companies are holding up their end of the bargain with the tax breaks’ intended purpose. Although the auditing practice is common in 36 of the 41 states that require businesses to file tax returns, the Massachusetts auditor is barred by statute from accessing those records...
...This legislation, which has 13 Democratic co-sponsors, deserves the support of both Democrats and Republicans and deserves a hearing as soon as possible. The Department of Revenue does not object to the legislation allowing the audits, and in fact, helped draft the bill.
Read the full editorial, or click here to learn more about the legislation.