LYONS’ AMENDMENT CLEARS THE HOUSE OF REPRESENTATIVES
October 5, 2011
BOSTON – State Representative Jim Lyons (R-Andover), joined by his Republican House colleagues, introduced a “transparency in spending” amendment to the state supplemental budget that passed the House of Representatives. Titled “An amendment to account for budget expenditures,” the Lyons-authored amendment directs the Executive Office of Administration and Finance to specify the amount of state taxpayer funds being spent on benefits and services for citizens, documented legal residents, and those whose status remains undetermined.
“As I talk with taxpayers in the communities of my district,” Lyons says, “one question that I am consistently asked is: ‘Where are our tax dollars being spent?’
“This amendment will help answer that important question” Lyons emphasizes. “We are looking for basic data that should be readily available to the public. By requiring the Patrick Administration to share this information with the public, we will shine the light of openness and transparency onto the state spending process.”
In addition to requiring a report on taxpayer-funded benefits, the amendment also asks for a break-down of spending with respect to legal services, translation services, the detention of prisoners, and costs related to the Health Safety Net program.
“How can we legislators know how to spend taxpayer funds efficiently,” Lyons observes, “if we are denied information about where those tax dollars are going? Or on whose behalf those tax dollars are being spent? Or for what purposes?
“Sharing this knowledge with the taxpayers of the Commonwealth will enrich our legislative budgetary debates,” concludes Lyons. “The reporting of this essential data is the first step to answering the question posed to me by constituents: ‘How and where are our tax dollars being spent?’”