"I see an opportunity to make government work better.
My vision springs from these beliefs: no one should wonder whether anyone in state government is watching out for them, no taxpayer should wonder whether a dollar they give to state government will be a dollar well-spent, and no one who relies on a government service should wonder whether that service will be compromised by a failing bureaucracy or a dishonest public official or contractor cheating the system.
I know government can do better, because I have made it better when I have held leadership positions.
I will ensure that state agencies and contractors follow the rules and thereby protect the taxpayers against waste, fraud and abuse.
I will focus on agency performance, examining how effectively and efficiently our tax dollars are being used, whether we as taxpayers and consumers of government services are getting our money's worth.
Let me provide one example of what I want to do as auditor: Massachusetts led the nation in expanding health insurance coverage to all of our citizens. Now we must reduce costs without reducing service or limiting access.
In FY11, Massachusetts will spend over $13.5 billion of the state budget (or 42%) on health care-related spending. Some of that spending only pays for inefficient bureaucracies. I know this from my own experience managing one of those programs.
Therefore, my first auditing priority is our health care bureaucracy. I will identify ways the laws can be changed and the state bureaucracy can be reformed to save our tax dollars and to make it easier for consumers to navigate our complicated system.
Now that government has required all of us to be covered by health insurance, government owes it to us to simplify our access to it. I will have a special unit dedicated solely to identifying inefficiencies in the state's health care programs. I will get us a better return for our tax dollars and improve access."
— Submitted by the candidate
Has Massachusetts generally been a good steward of public dollars? Why or why not?
"Massachusetts can and should be a better steward of public dollars. As a cabinet secretary, state representative, and small business owner, I have seen the inefficiencies in state government up close and worked to correct them.
One area where we have been especially lacking is in evaluating the costs and benefits of economic development tax incentives.
Having been the labor secretary during much of the current recession, I know all too well the seriousness of our employment situation. We do need more jobs, and sooner rather than later - but the state cannot just give away money to businesses and hope that good, permanent jobs will be created.
Business subsidies need, deserve, and demand proper oversight if they are to be anything but handouts, and state agencies must be rigorous in their oversight of these programs which are meant to stimulate job growth.
I will provide aggressive oversight of all our business and development tax breaks and incentives to ensure businesses live up to their job creation promises.
I will do a thorough review of every business tax and development incentive program and require state agencies to demonstrate how well they administer and monitor business subsidy programs.
All such programs need on-going reporting requirements, objective criteria for evaluating success, and sunset provisions that force the Legislature to review results and vote on whether these programs should continue.
Massachusetts should enforce the "clawback" provisions that were added to these subsidies, mandating that companies pay back any state assistance they receive if they fail to meet their targets for job creation.
These incentives use our tax dollars, and we must be sure we are getting the benefits we deserve from both our government and the businesses that utilize them."
Assess the job Joe DeNucci did as auditor.
"Joe DeNucci has served as our auditor for 24 years because of his unquestioned dedication to being the "watchdog for the underdog," the professionalism of his staff, and the integrity of his audits.
I intend to continue those high standards, but I also plan to retool the auditor's office for the 21st century, reviewing management structure, staffing and compensation levels, the use of technology, public communication, and the audit priorities of the office.
I will do this with the goal of adding accountability and transparency to state government. Auditor DeNucci has a solid legacy to build on. The MassHealth audit of 2006 and the School Building Assistance Program
audit of 2004 laid bare inadequate oversight mechanisms in both programs, which invited wasteful spending and abuse, and led to structural changes in governmental operations.
The MassHealth audit found $12 million in overpayments and potential annual savings and, more importantly, deficiencies in program management, including an alarming lack of resources dedicated to fiscal oversight. Those findings led to the creation of the Medicaid Audit Unit (MAU), a specialized unit in the auditor's office dedicated to finding waste, fraud, and abuse in MassHealth spending.
I intend to establish a Health Care Audit Unit, modeled on the MAU, to comprehensively review health care spending. Its mission: find ways to simplify the way we run the various health care programs, consolidate administration where appropriate and streamline the system to make it easier for consumers to obtain services.
The unit will evaluate and, where appropriate, expand upon recommendations from others, such as those in a recent report of the Massachusetts Inspector General. That report recommends that the state explore using the combined bargaining power of all state programs in the health care field."