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Boston — Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today testified before the Joint Committee on Revenue in support of legislation she filed to provide greater oversight and accountability of state government agency activities using tax return information. The measure, the Revenue Accountability Act (H.5), would provide Bump’s office with access to tax return data for use in audits of state government entities.
After posing a series of questions about government performance that her office cannot answer without access to tax return data, Bump said, “Bay State residents deserve to know the answer to these and other questions. They deserve to know if their government is operating as effectively as it should. They deserve to have an independent advocate providing accountability and striving to make government work better. The Revenue Accountability Act provides my team with tools to provide greater accountability in state government, and answer many of these questions.”
During her testimony, Bump noted that access to this data would allow her office to provide enhanced oversight of the Department of Revenue, better evaluate the performance of state agencies that use tax record data, and ensure public benefit programs are providing assistance only to those individuals who are financially eligible.
Bump’s office can currently access tax return data for the purpose of investigating allegations of public benefit fraud, however it is unable to access this data to assist in its audits. Massachusetts is one of five states that collect income taxes that do not allow their state auditing entities to access tax return data for audit purposes.
Bump added, “This is a critical gap in the Commonwealth’s accountability infrastructure. The bill before you today—the Revenue Accountability Act—will help to fill this gap,” Bump added.