Comptroller of the Commonwealth recognizes Sunshine Week, highlights statewide transparency efforts
The Office of the Comptroller of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (CTR) is pleased to recognize Sunshine Week, March 13-19, 2022. CTR also recognizes the journalists and news editors who we consider partners in our core values of transparency, accountability, and integrity in state government.
Said William McNamara, Comptroller of the Commonwealth, “Transparency promotes trust in government. As stewards of public finances, transparency is a core component of CTR’s mission, and we are proud of our record in this area to ensure that members of the public have easy and available access to public information.”
CTR has implemented numerous initiatives to maximize the goal of transparency:
CTR became the first statewide agency in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts to implement NextRequest, an online public records portal that provides the status of public records responses. NextRequest offers a searchable database of documents provided in response to public records requests received by CTR dating back to 2019. Users have downloaded 1,114 documents through NextRequest since CTR’s implementation of this technology in January 2020.
Public Records Requests
The Office of the Comptroller has received and responded to an increasing number of public records requests, totaling more than 500 requests since 2016. During calendar year 2021, CTR responded to a five-year-high of 135 public records requests from 88 unique requesters.
The Office of the Comptroller maintains CTHRU at https://www.macomptroller.org/cthru/, an online repository of data on all aspects of state finance, including statewide payroll, and statewide spending. Since 2016, users have viewed the CTHRU portal 15.2 million times. In recent years, the Office of the Comptroller has added new datasets to CTHRU, including:
- Commonwealth Revenues – Virtually all tax and non-tax revenue collected by the Commonwealth, dating back to 2006
- Non-Budgeted Special Revenue Funds and Trusts – Information on operating accounts that are not subject to the Commonwealth’s budgeting process
- Commonwealth Stabilization (“Rainy Day”) Fund – Balance of the Commonwealth’s reserve, including interest earned, income tax withholding on certain transfers of Lottery prizes, 10% of the gaming profits generated by MGM Springfield and Encore Boston Harbor casinos
- Settlements and Judgments – Payments, by department, of settlements and judgments from the Settlements and Judgments appropriation account
Sunshine Week is an annual celebration of access to public information, organized by the News Leaders Association and Reporters Committee for Freedom of the Press.