Republican gubernatorial candidate Charles Baker wants to test a so-called lifestyle audit for people who want to obtain public defenders or live in public housing.
The proposal was included in 13 changes he would make if elected governor. He dubbed the list the "Baker's Dozen," which he says would save taxpayers more than $1 billion in all.
Baker says the audit idea, which would scrutinize credit card bills, auto loans, grocery bills and other spending, came from conversations with defense attorneys and prosecutors.
"They basically said they knew for a fact that there are a number of people who are receiving public defender services who had assets that they could have made available to support the cost of their trial," Baker said.
Also on the list are previous proposals to overhaul the state's pension system, the benefits it pays to retirees and to charge inmates a $5 room and board fee.
Another would require proof of residency for state services. "I think we should require it for everything," Baker said. "I don't think it's appropriate for people who are residents of Massachusetts to be on waiting lists when people who aren't residents and citizens of Massachusetts are taking advantage of services.
Democratic Gov. Deval Patrick played on the doughnut theme, saying the list "has a lot of holes in it."
Under the audit plan, Baker would check a person's credit card and grocery bills, recreational expenses and auto loans to see if they exceed known sources of income. That may disqualify them from free or reduced-rate attorneys and housing.
This program aired on May 4, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.