Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Senate Adopts Olympics Measure Locking down State Spending

Minority Leader Tarr’s Budget Rider Requires Due Diligence

Boston- May 20, 2015  The Senate took action today on legislation authored by Senate Minority Leader Bruce Tarr (R-Gloucester) to assure that no state agency or department encumber any expenses related to hosting the 2024 Olympic Games in Boston unless a special act of the Legislature is signed into law by Governor Baker.

“We shouldn’t be committed to financially supporting the Olympics by deficiency, accident, omission or inaction on our part,” said Tarr. “Our amendment ensures that the Legislature and Governor, as responsible stewards of the Commonwealth’s resources, are not excluded from the process.”
Senators included the legislation, which received support from a bi-partisan group of co-sponsors, to provide greater oversight on the use of state money as the International Olympic Committee considers which city will be awarded the games. Under the plan, money can only be spent for due diligence and analysis of Boston 2024 organizer’s plans.

"We need to be on record as asserting that we will have a role to play as the guardians and the stewards of public funds," said Tarr. 

“This is a positive first step in protecting the taxpayers from a costly Olympic Games,” said Senator Robert Hedlund (R-Weymouth), Assistant Senate Minority Leader.

“This significant measure ensures that before the Commonwealth spends any money on hosting an Olympic Games, the legislature determines if it is feasible and done in a responsible manner,” said Senator Richard Ross. “The overwhelming bi-partisan support for this reflects the Senate’s continued commitment and dedication to Massachusetts taxpayers throughout this process.”

The language was not included in the House version of the budget and would need to be included in a final version of the $38 billion budget bill expected to go Governor Baker in June.

Senator Tarr Spending Freeze - Hosting Olympic Games