Sunshine Week 2023: A Wealth of State Data at Your Fingertips
In the interests of transparency and accountability, mass.gov, the Commonwealth’s official website, contains many web pages to help residents understand and track the activities of their state and local governments. Unfortunately, the web pages are scattered all over the gigantic mass.gov website, and it takes determination to dig them out.
With a goal of making government transparency more user friendly, here are links to some of our favorites:
CTTHRU—The Commonwealth’s Financial Transparency Platform
Managed by the Office of the Comptroller, this platform contains payroll, payment, revenue, and summary settlement & judgment transactions within all Commonwealth departments in the three branches (legislative, judicial, and executive), including constitutional and independent agencies. In addition, the site covers information for the MBTA and Massport, selected quasi-public agencies such as MassDevelopment, MassHousing, Massachusetts Technology Collaborative, and regional transit authorities.
CommonCents—Commonwealth Employees (number of and source of funding by agency)
This site is also managed by the Office of the Comptroller.
Massachusetts DOR Tax Credit Transparency Reports
The Department of Revenue compiles these reports every year, but they lag behind by two years. The page currently has reports from 2011 through 2020.
Blue Book Reports
This site offers monthly reports of state tax and other revenue collected by the Department of Revenue.
The Municipal Databank collects, analyzes, and distributes financial, demographic, and economic data on cities and towns. It is managed by the Local Services Division of the Department of Revenue. Massachusetts cities and towns are required to submit this data every year, and it is audited by the DOR before the publish. The data is usually available within six months of the end of the previous fiscal year.
School and District Profiles
Compiled by the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education, this site publishes school directories, enrollment and financial data, MCAS results, and many other statistics for every public school and public school district. Click on the Statewide Reports menu to see the whole list of datasets.
Massachusetts Charter Schools
The site offers information on all existing public charter schools as well as application forms for opening a new public charter school.
Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission (PERAC)
More than 545,000 people, active and retired, participate in one of the 104 public pension systems in Massachusetts. This website contains audit reports, valuation reports, funding schedule approvals, and compliance, investment, and Schedule 7 fee reports.
Department of Economic Research Data Index
This department is a part of Office of Labor and Workforce Development. Find economic data and labor market information for Massachusetts, including employment and wage data, unemployment rate, projections, industry and occupational statistics and other workforce statistical information by different labor market areas.
Massachusetts Office of Campaign and Political Finance
Although not technically a part of mass.gov, this office tracks political campaign data, including contributions and spending.
MBTA Performance Metrics
A bit self-serving, but what data they do show is current. For MBTAAnalysis.com, Pioneer uses the data from the National Transportation Database, which is lags behind by between two months to a year, depending on the dataset.
MassGIS—Bureau of Geographic Information
MassGIS is the state’s one-stop shop for interactive maps and related descriptive information. You can view and explore the extensive library of map information. Use the interactive MassMapper to make your own maps. You can also explore a selection of topic-specific interactive maps. GIS users can access data and web services for their software and applications. MassGIS also coordinates GIS activities in state and local government and sets GIS data standards.
Massachusetts 2020 Census
These sites offer census and population data, including historic data and projections out to 2040. The Donahue Institute does the heavy lifting for the Secretary of the Commonwealth.
Corporations Division Search
This site, which is part of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website, lets you search for any Massachusetts business by entity name or individual name.
This site is also part of the Secretary of the Commonwealth’s website. It contains election results from 1970 through 2022.
COVID-19 Response Reporting—Department of Public Health
Cumulative reports on Massachusetts COVID-19 cases, testing, and hospitalizations. Additional reports include nursing facility data, cases by city/town, and vaccination data.
Center for Health Information and Analysis
CHIA’s mission is to be the agency of record for Massachusetts health care information, to responsibly steward sensitive and confidential data, and to objectively report reliable and meaningful information about the quality, affordability, utilization, access, and outcomes of the Massachusetts healthcare system. Much of CHIA’s financial and patient-level data is not available to the general public, but they do have public records on such topics as quality, cost, access, and health system performance.
Crime Statistics—Office of Public Safety and Security
The Executive Office of Public Safety and Security (EOPSS) collects NIBRS and UCR data from law enforcement agencies in accordance with the FBI’s Uniform Crime Reporting Program. The data is available to view and query in various formats and is utilized for various reports and to lead and guide policy decisions.
Cannabis Control Commission—Data Catalog
This site offers data on the state’s legalized cannabis industry, including applications and licenses, agent registration and ownership, and sales and distribution.
Court Data, Metrics & Reports
Summary statistics reflect the type and volume of cases handled across the state over recent years. Court metrics measures clearance rate, time to disposition, age of pending cases, and trial date certainty.