archive-org.com » ORG » N » NJPIRG.ORG

Total: 460

Choose link from "Titles, links and description words view":

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Following the Money 2013 | NJPIRG
    33 purchasing funds and more than 58 000 vendors In January 2013 Idaho launched a new website that enables users to view and download recipient specific state expenditure information The website also contains information on the state s tax expenditures as well as financial information on local governments States have made varying levels of progress toward improved online spending transparency See Figure ES 1 and Table ES 1 Leading States A range Seven states are leading in online spending transparency and have created user friendly websites that provide visitors with an array of checkbook level information about expenditures In each of these states users can monitor the payments made tovendors through contracts grants tax credits and other discretionary spending All spending in these states with the exception of subsidies in Texas is accessible in a searchable database All Leading States except Florida also provide users with copies of contracts allowing residents to uncover details about the goods or services the government pays companies to provide Advancing States B range Nine states are advancing in online spending transparency with checkbooks that are easy to access and cover many of each state s expenditures With the exception of spending on economic development tax credits all expenditures available online are searchable allowing residents to easily locate specific spending data All Advancing States provide checkbook level information on grants which are often awarded through processes separate from contract awards Also all Advancing States with the exception of Washington provide spending information from quasi public agencies Emerging States C range Twenty two states are emerging in online spending transparency and have launched transparency websites with checkbook level information on contracts and some other expenditures However Emerging States provide minimal information on expenditures outside states usual accounting systems Lagging States D range Seven Lagging States maintain transparency websites but are missing important pieces of their checkbooks and fail to provide other spending data that are available on most other websites While these Lagging States provide checkbook level detail on the payments made to vendors through contracts and grants only one state Ohio provides information on economic development tax credits Failing States F range Five states are failing in online spending transparency and maintain websites that are checkbook level but are limited and hard to use Not a single Failing State provides information on the public benefits of economic development subsidies broken down by recipient or makes its tax expenditure report available Only one state Wyoming provides spending information on off budget agencies Some states have gone above and beyond standard Transparency 2 0 features They have developed new tools and posted new sets of information on government expenditures giving residents unprecedented ability to monitor and influence how their government allocates resources Shining a Light on Pay to Play Practices Illinois has launched a tool called Open Book that empowers the public and watchdog groups to explore contracts awarded to corporations side by side with electoral contributions those corporations have made Integration of Local Government Data into

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/following-money-2013 (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive


  • The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens | NJPIRG
    to total state and local expenditures on firefighters 39 7 billion or on parks and recreation 40 6 billion in FY 2008 Table ES 1 lists the top 10 states with the most revenue lost to tax haven abuse Table ES 1 Total Annual Income Tax Revenues Lost to Tax Havens Individual and Corporate Income Taxes Combined Rank State Revenue Losses Millions 1 California 7 147 2 New York 4 275 3 New Jersey 2 833 4 Illinois 2 545 5 Pennsylvania 2 105 6 Minnesota 1 953 7 Massachusetts 1 688 8 North Carolina 1 049 9 Florida 979 10 Maryland 966 Federal policymakers must crack down on tax haven abuse but with Congress often gridlocked states should act independently to reduce the impact of offshore tax havens on state budgets Some of the largest companies in the United States use tax havens including many that have taken advantage of government bailouts or rely on government contracts As of 2008 83 of the 100 largest publically traded corporations in the United States maintained revenues in offshore tax havens according to the Government Accountability Office At the end of 2011 290 of the top Fortune 500 companies using tax havens collectively held 1 6 trillion in profits outside the United States up from 1 1 trillion in 2009 according to Citizens for Tax Justice States can act immediately to restore fairness to the tax system and minimize the fiscal impact of offshore tax haven abuse through policy changes that will close loopholes and increase their ability to detect and penalize tax avoidance For example 1 States can decouple their tax system from the federal tax system Because states typically use the same definitions of income as those in the federal tax code they automatically lose money when tax haven users don t report income to the federal government Decoupling would help prevent those automatic losses Rather than allow income that has been shifted out of sight from federal tax authorities to diminish the tax baseline states can close loopholes that restore this hidden income 2 States can require worldwide combined reporting for multinational corporations Combined reporting is the practice of treating the parent and subsidiary companies of a multinational corporation as one corporation for the purpose of calculating taxes Adding up all profits earned worldwide by a company and then taxing a share of those combined profits according to the company s level of activity in each country would eliminate the tax benefits of shifting profits to tax havens such as Bermuda or Ireland 3 States should urge their federal representatives to reject a territorial tax system which would further erode state revenue Such a system would allow companies to bring all of the profits they have parked offshore in tax havens back into the United States without paying U S taxes 4 States can require increased disclosure of financial information about corporations business presence in other countries and how they price their transfers with their own foreign subsidiaries as

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/hidden-cost-offshore-tax-havens (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Billion-Dollar Democracy | NJPIRG
    both House and Senate raised the majority of their funds from gifts of 1 000 or more and 40 of all contributions to Senate candidates came from donors giving at least 2 500 from just 0 02 of the American population In the 2012 election cycle 83 9 of House candidates and 66 7 of Senate candidates who outspent their general election opponents won their elections Winning House candidates outraised major opponents by 108 winning Senate candidates by 35 Special Interests Over the Public Interest Super PACs raised a significant portion of their funds from business interests For profits corporations were the second largest donors to Super PACs accounting for 12 of all contributions Businesses provided a significant portion of the funds for some of the most active super PACs including 18 0 of Restore Our Future s funds and 52 7 of Freedomworks for America s funds Candidates and especially winning candidates raised a significant portion of their funds from political action committees PACs Winners of federal House races raised on average 40 of their funds from PACs versus 19 9 raised by major opponents Winners of Senate races raised on average 15 9 of their funds from PACs versus 8 3 for losers Incumbents Over Challengers Grassroots Candidates In 2012 95 2 of incumbent senators and 91 2 of incumbent representatives who ran for office won re election In the 2012 cycle incumbent representatives outraised major challengers 1 732 000 to 319 000 for an incredible 443 advantage Senate incumbents outraised major challengers 7 02 million to 1 69 million for a slightly smaller 316 advantage Challengers depended upon self financing for more than 20 of their funds showing that it s important to be wealthy to run against an incumbent in our big money system Secret Spenders

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/billion-dollar-democracy (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Outside Spending, Outsized Influence | NJPIRG
    races in New Jersey where outside groups spent over 3 million were no exception Groups federally registered outside of New Jersey accounted for 99 04 of all outside spending in New Jersey House and Senate races Dark money groups accounted for 8 56 of all outside spending in New Jersey House and Senate races These groups do not disclose the source of their funds hiding critical information from voters about who is behind the advertising and what interests are backing which candidates Read Billion Dollar Democracy our report on federal spending in the 2012 elections here Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People Label GMO Foods Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Toxic Free Communities Reining in Wall Street Act Now Jobs Donate Newsroom Resources Reports Get our RSS feed Our Affiliates Our Sister c 3 Are you a student Energy Service Corps Our Federation Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate JOIN US Priority Action We re teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/outside-spending-outsized-influence (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Elections Confidential | NJPIRG
    disclose their funding sources Even those groups that do disclose their donors received millions from fake corporations that covered the money trail Key findings include Shell corporations that do not disclose the sources of their funding funneled at least 17 million to Super PACs in the 2012 elections Nearly seventeen percent of all business contributions to Super PACs came from identified shell corporations Dark money nonprofits reported spending over 299 million in the 2012 election however because these groups ran issue ads that need only be reported when aired just before primaries or election day the total spending by these nonprofits is certainly much higher than was reported to the FEC Crossroads GPS for example told the FEC that it spent just under 71 million in the 2012 election cycle but it actually spent more than twice as much as was reported topping at least 165 million Dark money nonprofits which are not supposed to have electoral intervention as a primary activity will justify their tax exempt status in the post election period by engaging in activities like lobbying Incredibly this qualifies as advancing the social welfare A dark money group s lobbying clout is amplified by the fact that come election time they can back an uncooperative lawmaker s primary challenger With both dark money nonprofits and shell corporations it is almost impossible to identify violations of election or tax law such as the infiltration of foreign funds Read Billion Dollar Democracy our full report on outside spending in the 2012 election cyclye and Outside Spending Outsized Influence about outside spending in the New Jersey House and Senate races Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People Label GMO Foods Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Toxic Free Communities

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/elections-confidential (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Event 5/11 re new book on black box decisionmaking & consumers | NJPIRG
    Professor Pasquale will be joined by advocates for a discussion of the impact of the Black Box on economic opportunity and possible reform policies Sarah Ludwig co director New Economy Project NYC formerly NEDAP Sarah was a leader in the recent campaign to win a ban on the use of credit reports for employment purposes at the NY City Council confirmed Alexis Goldstein former Wall Street technology executive and Communications Director for Other98 com confirmed 11 00 12 Noon Panel 2 What do policymakers need to do to open up and make accountable the Black Box Jessica Rich Director FTC Bureau of Consumer Protection confirmed The FTC BCP has issued recent reports on privacy and data brokers has held a series of its own workshops on privacy data and potential discrimination and has conducted enforcement actions against firms using digital data tools without complying with applicable consumer protection laws Peggy Twohig Assistant Director Office of Supervision Policy confirmed The CFPB has issued reports latest May 2015 on the credit reporting industry and under authority granted by Congress since fall 2012 has supervised examined the activities of larger participants in credit reporting markets essentially examination authority gives CFPB the right to look inside the black box About the USPIRG Education Fund and Center for Digital Democracy Project on Data and Consumer Protection Ensuring a Fair and Equitable Financial Marketplace PROJECT HOME PAGE Looking Inside the Black Box Society is one in a series of events hosted by USPIRG Education Fund and CDD to promote needed discussion of the impact of the digital marketplace on economic opportunity The project has also authored path breaking research including the Suffolk University Law Review article Selling Consumers Not Lists and the report Big Data Means Big Opportunities and Big Challenges Promoting Financial Inclusion and Consumer

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/event-511-re-new-book-black-box-decisionmaking-consumers (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive

  • U.S. House Considers Delay To Financial Protections for Servicemembers, Veterans | NJPIRG
    proposed a comprehensive new rule designed to capture all forms of predatory lending and ban certain practices such as pre dispute arbitration clauses in loans to servicemembers The National Military Family Association explained the importance of the changes The chargeable interest rates for these types of loans were capped at 36 percent reducing rollovers on the debt that often resulted in triple digit interest rates It was a good start But because of the narrow scope of the Act many types of predatory loans weren t included so small loans were putting military families into extraordinary debt Now Section 594 of the Chairman s Mark of the National Defense Authorization Act HR 1735 very large pdf would delay the Department of Defense s regulations improving the law and closing loopholes The rule would be delayed by up to a year or more The bill is scheduled for committee votes markup on Wednesday April 29 A House vote is anticipated in mid May Rep Tammy Duckworth IL a veteran is expected to offer a PIRG backed amendment to strike the redundant provision the Pentagon has already conducted numerous studies required before proposing the regulation In testimony to the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee in 2013 Colonel Paul Kantwill Director of Legal Policy Office of the Undersecretary for Personnel and Readiness Department of Defense stated I will discuss other financial challenges confronting Servicemembers veterans and their families in today s consumer marketplace These challenges are many and varied but I will focus primarily on issues and challenges that fall within or around the Military Lending Act MLA small dollar payday type lending services and products as the Department sees this as the biggest current financial challenge facing our Servicemembers Veterans and their families Following that testimony the Pentagon issued a 2014 report calling for changes to the Military Lending Act That report found the following Losing qualified Service members due to personal issues such as financial instability causes loss of mission capability and drives significant replacement costs The Department estimates that each separation costs the Department 57 333 Losing an experienced mid grade noncommissioned officer NCO who may be in a leadership position or key technical position may be considerably more expensive in terms of replacement costs and in terms of the degradation of mission effectiveness resulting from a loss of personal reliability for deployment and availability for duty A study of the potential impact of the use of payday loans on enlisted members in the Air Force found significant average declines in overall job performance and retention and significant increases in severely poor readiness as a result of using payday loans Additionally financial concerns detract from mission focus and often times require attention from commanding officers and senior NCOs to resolve outstanding debts and other credit issues Subsequently the Department of Defense led by then Secretary Chuck Hagel proposed comprehensive changes to the MLA s implementing regulation designed to protect servicemembers and unit preparedness This Americans for Financial Reform webpage includes a

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/us-house-considers-delay-financial-protections-servicemembers-veterans (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive

  • CFPB Begins Payday Regulation Push In Richmond | NJPIRG
    ending the debt traps that are so pervasive in both the short term and longer term credit markets Today we are outlining a proposal that would require lenders to take steps to make sure borrowers can repay their loans The rules we are considering would cover payday vehicle title and certain high cost installment loans We have released an outline of the proposals we are considering and we invite feedback on our approach This is the first step in addressing much needed change The CFPB s release goes into greater detail and includes additional links Excerpt Today the Bureau is publishing an outline of the proposals under consideration in preparation for convening a Small Business Review Panel to gather feedback from small lenders which is the next step in the rulemaking process The proposals under consideration cover both short term and longer term credit products that are often marketed heavily to financially vulnerable consumers The CFPB recognizes consumers need for affordable credit but is concerned that the practices often associated with these products such as failure to underwrite for affordable payments repeatedly rolling over or refinancing loans holding a security interest in a vehicle as collateral accessing the consumer s account for repayment and performing costly withdrawal attempts can trap consumers in debt These debt traps also can leave consumers vulnerable to deposit account fees and closures vehicle repossession and other financial difficulties The proposals under consideration provide two different approaches to eliminating debt traps prevention and protection Und er the prevention requirements lenders would have to determine at the outset of each loan that the consumer is not taking on unaffordable debt Under the protection requirements lenders would have to comply with various restrictions designed to ensure that consumers can affordably repay their debt Lenders could choose which set of requirements to follow Ending Debt Traps Short Term Loans The proposals under consideration would cover short term credit products that require consumers to pay back the loan in full within 45 days such as payday loans deposit advance products certain open end lines of credit and some vehicle title loans Vehicle title loans typically are expensive credit backed by a security interest in a car They may be short term or longer term and allow the lender to repossess the consumer s vehicle if the consumer defaults For consumers living paycheck to paycheck the short timeframe of these loans can make it difficult to accumulate the necessary funds to pay off the loan principal and fees before the due date Borrowers who cannot repay are often encouraged to roll over the loan pay more fees to delay the due date or take out a new loan to replace the old one The Bureau s research has found that four out of five payday loans are rolled over or renewed within two weeks For many borrowers what starts out as a short term emergency loan turns into an unaffordable long term debt trap The proposals under consideration would include two

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/cfpb-begins-payday-regulation-push-richmond (2016-04-29)
    Open archived version from archive



  •