Boston, MA – In an audit released today, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump revealed that the Massachusetts Office of Business Development (MOBD) has never implemented the Buy Massachusetts Program, which was enacted in 1993 by the Legislature. The Buy Massachusetts Program is an effort to connect Massachusetts companies and encourage them to purchase needed goods and services from each other, rather than from out-of-state or foreign companies. The audit, which examined the period of July 1, 2015 through June 30, 2017, determined that MOBD never requested funding from the Legislature to establish and operate the Buy Massachusetts Program.
“When the Legislature directs an executive branch agency to implement a program, inaction is not an option. If the agency believes it needs additional resources to do so, it is incumbent on its leadership to seek legislative appropriations or other sources of funding, such as federal grants. Unfortunately for Massachusetts businesses, MOBD has taken none of these steps to implement the Buy Massachusetts Program,” said Bump of the audit. “After more than a quarter-century, it is time to get this program off the ground.”
Additionally, the audit found that MOBD has properly administered the Regional Economic Development Organization (REDO) Grant Program. This program provides grants to REDOs to help facilitate projects that attract businesses to the state and retain them here. REDOs are tax-exempt organizations that focus on regional economic development and service 10 or more contiguous cities or towns. During the audit period, MOBD awarded REDO grants totaling $1,010,000 to nine organizations.
The Massachusetts Office of Business Development, which is within the Executive Office of Housing and Economic Development, serves as an umbrella organization for all business development activity on behalf of the Commonwealth. During the audit period, the agency had 11 employees and six regional offices.