“Calculating the cost of tax breaks” (Business, Aug 7) shows that Massachusetts has more than doubled special targeted tax breaks to businesses since 1996, with costs to the state budget topping $770 million last year. It is troubling that many programs funded through business tax breaks lack clear goals, much less any way to measure progress toward those goals or ability to reclaim tax breaks that fail to deliver results. In fact, the state auditor found that only one in 11 business tax expenditures must be periodically reviewed. One in nine have “clawback” provisions to reclaim tax subsidies when companies fail to deliver intended results. Taxpayers pick up the tab for the lost revenue from these programs. They must be measured and evaluated.
Solutions are already on the table. On April 30, a bipartisan tax expenditure commission composed of lawmakers, statewide leaders, and members of the Patrick administration provided a roadmap to make our tax expenditures more efficient, accountable, and transparent. The reforms should be adopted immediately to ensure that every tax dollar is invested wisely, and the public gets the best bang for its investment.