MassFiscal Testifies in Support of Legislative Audit Ballot Question

This morning, the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance offered testimony to the Joint Committee on Initiative Petitions in support of question #23-34, An Act expressly authorizing the Auditor to audit the Legislature, which would make explicit to the State Auditors’ authority to audit the legislature.

MassFiscal testified as part of a panel which included the Pioneer Institute and the New England Legal Foundation.

“MassFiscal has long made legislative transparency a key issue for our organization. For years, our organization advocated for live streaming legislative hearings online in order to open them up to the public, only to be told it was technologically impossible. Despite years of protestations from lawmakers, live streaming of legislative hearings is now the norm. MassFiscal also long advocated for all legislative votes to be made public, including committee votes. Ultimately, the legislature adopted rules to allow for House and Senate committee votes to be made public. Despite consistently resisting those common sense transparency measures, the legislature has shown they are capable of coming to their senses when all other options have been exhausted. It’s time for the legislature to come to their senses on this issue and simply allow the State Auditor to audit them,” stated Paul D. Craney, a spokesman for the Massachusetts Fiscal Alliance.

 “The purpose of today’s hearing is not to debate the constitutional merits of ballot question 23-24. Potential ballot questions, such as the ballot question in 2018 to add an income surtax to the state’s five percent income tax for some high income earners, have made it past the Attorney General’s review and been okayed by this very committee only to be struck down as unconstitutional at the state Supreme Judicial Court,” noted MassFiscal in their testimony.

“The purpose of today’s legislative hearing is to consider adopting a compromise to avoid having the measure proceed to the voters. The easiest thing for this legislature to do is simply allow the state Auditor to audit the legislature. Just like the measures to make committee hearings more transparent and available to your constituents, and the push to make committee votes available to the public, the legislature simply has to agree to yet another commonsense measure of transparency,” closed MassFiscal.

A written copy of the testimony is available for review here.  

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