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Mass. auditor seeks power to review tax returns

BOSTON (AP) -- Massachusetts Auditor Suzanne Bump is asking the Legislature for authority to review business tax returns to assure that billions of dollars in tax breaks handed out by the state are being used properly.

Without access to those tax returns, she says it's impossible to audit tax expenditures and prevent waste, fraud or abuse.

The auditor released an analysis in 2011 showing the state was handing out more than $2 billion a year in tax credits or incentives with little or no means for gauging their effectiveness.

On Tuesday, Bump testified before a legislative committee on a bill that would give her office access to information in tax returns that could indicate whether a business deserves the tax breaks it receives.

She said specific information from the tax returns would not be made public.