The New England Center for Investigative Reporting is proud to introduce @MassBudgetBot, a Twitter bot from NECIR and WGBH-News that shares earmarks from the 2016 Massachusetts state budget. @MassBudgetBot coincides with the launch of an occasional series on state budget spending by Isaiah Thompson. Earmarks are the allocation of public funds to specific projects across the state, and are often used as a way for state legislators to direct money to their districts. Earmarks are also exempt from the state’s normal contracting and procurement procedures, and aren’t subject to as rigorous internal scrutiny as the rest of the budget.GIF by Brendan Lynch | WGBH News
The first Beacon Hill Earmarks report found $75k for an elusive East Boston jobs program, and $30k for a church-affiliated Springfield health organization whose status as a public charity was unclear — both cases the state’s attorney general is now reviewing in light of the report. Follow @MassBudgetBot to learn where public funds have been allocated using earmarks in Massachusetts, and let us know if any of them concern you.