The 11-member Tax Expenditure Commission has posted a wide array of materials on DOR’s website in an effort to make its work as transparent and accessible as possible.
What are tax expenditures? The introduction to the FY13 Tax Expenditure Budget puts it this way:
"In its simplest form, a tax is an across-the-board levy on a base, such as income, to which a specific rate applies and for which no modifications exist. Taxes are rarely levied in this manner, however. Instead, most state tax codes incorporate a number of exemptions, deductions, credits, and deferrals designed to encourage certain taxpayer activities or to limit the tax burden on certain types of individuals or endeavors. Known as 'tax expenditures', these provisions can have a significant impact on state tax revenues."
The FY13 Tax Expenditure Budget (TEB) is more than $26 billion, roughly $4 billion larger than projected FY13 revenues of nearly $22 billion. The Commonwealth collects less in revenue than it has chosen to forego.
The Commission is scheduled to issue a report by April 30. Agendas and minutes from Commission meetings are included on the web page, as are historic looks at TEBs from previous years and TEB's from other states.
The Commission unanimously approved a Statement of Principles (found on the agendas and minutes page) on Feb. 6 which makes it clear that the Commission believes tax expenditures merit regular scrutiny and should be subject to periodic cost-benefit analysis and review by the Executive and Legislative branches.
The eleven members of the commission are its chair, Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez, Auditor Suzanne Bump, Treasurer Steven Grossman, House Ways and Means Committee Chair Brian Dempsey, Senate Ways and Means Committee Chair Stephen Brewer, House Revenue Committee Chair Jay Kaufman, Senate Revenue Committee Chair Katherine Clark, Rep. Steven Levy (designee of House Minority Leader Brad Jones), Sen. Michael Knapik (designee of Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr), Alan Clayton-Matthews (member of the Governor’s Council of Economic Advisers), and James Stock (also a member of the Governor’s Council of Economic advisers).