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Official: Mass. closes out FY10 with $163M surplus


Official: Mass. closes out FY10 with $163M surplus

Gov. Deval Patrick’s top budget official is touting a $163 million surplus as the state closes out the books on the 2010 fiscal year.

Administration and Finance Secretary Jay Gonzalez said the surplus means that $50 million from the state’s rainy day fund originally slated to be spent in fiscal year 2010 will remain in the fund.

He also said that $94 million will be carried forward into the current fiscal year and $10 million will go to Patrick’s life sciences initiative.

The remaining $9.4 million will also go into the state’s rainy day fund.

So far this year, tax revenue collections are more than $200 million over estimates.

Former Mass. treasurer O’Brien criticizes Connaughton

Former Democratic treasurer Shannon O’Brien says Republican Mary Connaughton is unqualified to be state auditor because of problems at the Massachusetts Lottery in the 1990s while she was chief financial officer.

Connaughton says O’Brien has no idea of her performance because the would-be auditor had left the Lottery over a year before O’Brien was elected.

A Boston Globe story Saturday highlighted a 1997 audit citing poor accounting practices, violations of state law and $1.6 million in lost state revenue at the Lottery.

Democratic rival Suzanne Bump said Monday she can’t think of anyone less suited to be a fiscal watchdog.

Connaughton says Bump is trying to distract from her own tax problems previously revealed by the Globe.

And she says she instituted policies and procedures at the Lottery to address some of the problems.

New Bedford gun exchange called highly successful

Organizers of a weekend gun buyback program in New Bedford say they took about 140 weapons off city streets, three times as many as a similar event last year.

The Rev. David Lima, executive minister of the Inter-Church Council, which joined local law enforcement agencies to sponsor the exchange, called the community response overwhelming.

The total number of guns collected will not be known until Monday.

Lima tells The Standard-Times that higher rewards for turning in a firearm, the depressed economy and better publicity all played a part in Sunday’s response.

The program provided gift cards of as much as $100 for people who turned in guns no questions asked at several city churches.

Unions pour another $2M into Mass. sales tax fight

Unions have poured another $2 million into the fight against a sales tax-cutting ballot question.

The Massachusetts Coalition for Our Communities, the group hoping to defeat Question 3, which would lower the state sales tax from 6.25 percent to 3 percent, raised and spent $2 million on the campaign between Oct. 2 and Oct. 15.

According to records filed with the state Office of Campaign and Political Finance, all of the money came from unions, including the American Federation of Teachers, the Massachusetts Teachers Association and the National Education Association.

Much of the money has been spent on advertising.

Supporters of the ballot question raised and spent less than $10,000 in the same two-week period.

To date, unions have pumped more than $4 million into the campaign against the sales tax rollback.

Associated Press