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  • Financial Reform | NJPIRG
    to both the banks and credit bureaus while providing consumers with new tips and advice Financial Reform Read more about CFPB Criticizes Banks Re Account Opening and Overdrafts Offers Consumer Tips Debating trade and consumer protection in Brussels today Tuesday January 26 2016 By Ed Mierzwinski Consumer Program Director I am in Brussels today debating consumer protection and the proposed US European trade treaty known as the TransAtlantic Trade and Investment Partnership or TTIP Today s public event and a second public meeting tomorrow Wednesday with live webstream 9am noon DC time comparing the CFPB to its European counterparts are sponsored by the PIRG backed TransAtlantic Consumer Dialogue Financial Reform Read more about Debating trade and consumer protection in Brussels today House Committee Launches Trojan Horse Assault On State Privacy Laws Tuesday December 8 2015 By Ed Mierzwinski Consumer Program Director This afternoon Tuesday 8 December the U S House Financial Services Committee launches a massive attack on state privacy laws Hidden inside a seemingly modest proposal to establish federal data breach notice requirements is a Trojan Horse provision designed to to take state consumer cops off the privacy beat completely and forever That s wrong because the states have always been key first responders and leaders on privacy threats that Congress has ignored from credit report accuracy and identity theft to data breaches and do not call lists Financial Reform Read more about House Committee Launches Trojan Horse Assault On State Privacy Laws Privacy We ve Got Tips and Ideas For You Congress and Regulators Too Thursday October 29 2015 By Ed Mierzwinski Consumer Program Director Problems with privacy and data security are all over the news these days We ve got you covered from releasing a new report and consumer tips on the security freeze today to testifying to Congress last week on payment card security and speaking on a panel at the FTC tomorrow on Internet lead generation what s that Oh and we re waiting for answers to our questions to the CFPB about the credit bureau Experian joining the ranks of the breached We ve been busy as we explain in this roundup blog entry Financial Reform Read more about Privacy We ve Got Tips and Ideas For You Congress and Regulators Too Resource Financial Reform Letter to CFPB FTC on Experian T Mobile Data Breach Following a breach of a subsidiary of the nationwide credit bureau Experian affecting 15 million customers and applicants of T Mobile a number of state PIRGs have joined other leading privacy and consumer groups in a request for investigations by the CFPB and FTC Keep Reading about Letter to CFPB FTC on Experian T Mobile Data Breach The More I Hear About OPM Data Breach The Less I Know Except This It s Bad Wednesday June 24 2015 By Ed Mierzwinski Consumer Program Director Was it 4 million 14 million or 18 million records breached how many times likely by Chinese hackers Whose fault was it The USOPM director

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/topics/financial-reform (2016-04-29)
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  • More Than 100 Groups Insist on No Riders in Spending Legislation | NJPIRG
    in both parties harmful to working families and small businesses and have no place in the appropriations process Ideological riders are measures that the public opposes and that the President would likely veto as standalone legislation the letter reads The American people support policies to restrain Wall Street abuses and ensure safe and healthy food and products to protect our air land water and wildlife to ensure safe and fair workplaces to prevent consumer rip offs and corporate wrongdoing to create fair rules of the road for our campaign finance system to provide access to justice and to ensure continued access to vital health care services Riders threaten to block or repeal these protections Last year hundreds of riders were proposed for inclusion in the omnibus spending legislation and in this year s budget process some members of Congress already have started to insist on them Even though the congressional leadership appears determined to return to regular order by passing 12 smaller spending bills instead of a last minute omnibus the threat of riders remains Among the concerns that the U S Public Interest Research Group U S PIRG has are rollbacks to Wall Street Reform and roadblocks to campaign finance reform Policy riders that were defeated last December and can t pass on their own are back like zombies They would hamstring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau which keeps Wall Street and other financial interests in check said Mike Litt U S PIRG s Consumer Program Advocate Congress should pass clean spending bills without riders that would further undermine our democracy in favor of special interest groups and mega donors said Dan Smith Democracy Campaign Director for U S PIRG Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse Of Antibiotics Stop the Highway Boondoggles Democracy For The People Label

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/news/usp/more-100-groups-insist-no-riders-spending-legislation (2016-04-29)
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  • NJPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    Health Care The Princeton Packet Health Care Repeal Would Be Costly For New Jersey In last week s State of the Union President Barack Obama made it clear that he intends to continue with his health reform agenda His opposition will no doubt continue to push for repeal But are repeal proponents standing up for consumers or are they standing up for the health insurance industry Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Health Care Health Care Repeal Would Have Costly Consequences for New Jersey Consumers and Small Businesses Consumers and small businesses in New Jersey will face significantly higher insurance premiums and could see costly coverage denials and price discrimination if efforts to repeal the federal health care law prevail in Congress or in the courts according to The Cost of Repeal Examining the Impact on New Jersey of Repealing the New Federal Health Care Law a new report released today by NJPIRG Keep Reading News Release NJPIRG Law and Policy Center Transportation User Fee Myth Busted NJ Is Only State in Nation Where Taxes Subsidize Driving A new report released today by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group NJPIRG disproves the common misperception that road building is paid for by user fees showing that gas taxes cover barely half the costs of building and maintaining roads a fraction which is likely to fall steadily Keep Reading Media Hit Democracy newjerseynewsroom com U S Supreme Court decision on campaign finance blasted by Jerseyans In a shocking burst of judicial activism the Supreme Court decided that corporations should be treated in the same manner as ordinary citizens and be allowed to spend the massive amounts of money they accumulate on direct attack ads for or against members of Congress Keep Reading Pages first previous 17 18 19

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/home?page=24 (2016-04-29)
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  • Health Care | NJPIRG
    are two months away from New Jersey s health insurance exchange going live and thousands of New Jerseyans who stand to benefit won t even know about their new affordable options unless the Governor releases the funds for outreach and education Read more about NJPIRG Urges Governor Christie to Invest in Outreach For New Healthcare Options News Release NJPIRG Public Health Consumer Protection Health Care Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs New Jerseyans with cancer heart disease epilepsy and other conditions have been forced to pay an average of 10 times more than necessary for at least 20 blockbuster drugs Brand drug manufacturers have made 98 billion in total sales off the drugs while the generic versions were delayed Read more about Twenty Top Generic Drugs Delayed By Industry Payoffs Report NJPIRG Public Health Consumer Protection Health Care Top Twenty Pay For Delay Drugs Too often consumers are forced to shoulder a heavy financial burden or even go without needed medicine due to the high cost of brand name drugs Our research indicates that one significant cause is the practice called pay for delay which inflates the drug prices paid by tens of millions of Americans Read more about Top Twenty Pay For Delay Drugs News Release NJPIRG Public Health Consumer Protection Health Care New Report Documents A Decade Of Safety Violations By Compounding Pharmacies The contaminated drug that caused last fall s fungal meningitis outbreak killing 55 people nation wide and sickening 51 New Jerseyans is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry wide problem according to a new report released today by NJPIRG Read more about New Report Documents A Decade Of Safety Violations By Compounding Pharmacies Report NJPIRG Public Health Consumer Protection Health Care Prescription For Danger The fungal meningitis outbreak caused by

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/topics/health-care (2016-04-29)
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  • Tax | NJPIRG
    60 million with simple proven method to curb offshore tax dodging new study finds New Jersey taxpayers could save 59 8 million from a simple reform to crack down on offshore tax dodging according to a new report released today by the NJPIRG Law Policy Center The reform which has already been proven effective in Montana and passed in Oregon would require companies to treat profits booked to notorious tax havens as domestic taxable income Read more about NJ could save nearly 60 million with simple proven method to curb offshore tax dodging new study finds Report NJPIRG Tax Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole Every year corporations use complicated gimmicks to shift U S earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens countries with minimal or no taxes in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars Tax haven abusers benefit from America s markets public infrastructure educated workforce security and rule of law all supported in one way or another by tax dollars But they use tax havens to escape supporting these public structures and benefits Ultimately ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab either in the form of higher taxes or cuts to public spending priorities Read more about Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole News Release NJPIRG Budget Democracy Tax New Study 82 of Top 100 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2012 Read more about New Study 82 of Top 100 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2012 Report NJPIRG Budget Tax Offshore Shell Games Many large U S based multinational corporations avoid paying U S taxes by using accounting tricks to make profits made in America appear to be generated in offshore tax havens countries with minimal or no taxes By booking profits to subsidiaries registered in tax havens multinational corporations are able to avoid an estimated 90 billion in federal income taxes each year These subsidiaries are often shell companies with few if any employees and which engage in little to no real business activity Read more about Offshore Shell Games Report NJPIRG Budget Tax Picking Up the Tab 2013 Some U S based multinational firms and individuals avoid paying U S taxes by using accounting tricks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens countries with minimal or no taxes They benefit from their access to America s markets workforce infrastructure and security but they pay little or nothing for it violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab Read more about Picking Up the Tab 2013 News Release NJPIRG Budget Tax Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average NJ Taxpayer 1 260 a Year NJ Small Business 3 941 With Tax Day approaching it s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going NJPIRG and NJ Citizen Action were joined today by Senator Robert Menendez Congressman Frank Pallone NJ 6 Mayor Ed Johnson of Asbury Park and Jerome Beckman owner of Beckman s Newsstands to

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/topics/tax (2016-04-29)
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  • Following the Money 2016 | NJPIRG
    in the past year these web portals continued to improve For instance all but five states provide checkbook level data for one or more economic development subsidy programs and more than half of states make that subsidy data available for researchers to download and analyze This seventh annual evaluation of state transparency websites finds that states continue to make progress toward comprehensive one stop one click transparency and accountability for state government spending In 2015 several states launched new and improved websites to better open the books on public spending or have adopted new practices to further expand citizens access to critical spending information Several states however continue to lag behind Several states have made substantive upgrades to their transparency sites or added new features that give the public unprecedented ability to monitor how their government allocates resources Of particular note Michigan streamlined its transparency data and added functionality to its transparency website including allowing bulk download of all its data West Virginia launched a new site with data on projected and actual public benefits of the state s major subsidy programs Utah and Arizona have joined several other states in adding data from localities municipalities and school districts to their state transparency portals This provides an inexpensive way to improve the transparency of the spending that often affects ordinary citizens most directly Indiana Minnesota Nebraska New Hampshire and Washington now prominently feature data on quasipublic entities with web pages dedicated solely to these agencies boards authorities and commissions 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

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njf/following-money-2016 (2016-04-29)
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  • Trouble in Toyland 2015 | NJPIRG
    diameter represent a choking hazard for children three years and younger We found Magic Towels packaged as a small baseball and a small football at Dollar Tree which did not have the appropriate small ball warning label We also remain concerned about other small rounded toys such as toy food that present the same choke hazard as small balls but are not labeled as a hazard Balloons are easily inhaled in attempts to inflate them and can become stuck in children s throats Balloons are responsible for more choking deaths among children than any other toy or children s product We found three balloon sets on store shelves marketed to children under eight Magnets When two or more powerful magnets are swallowed they can have fatal health consequences as their attractive forces draw them together inside the body perforating intestinal walls We found ellipsoid magnets that are just larger than the small parts cylinder While we believe these magnets do not technically violate any standards we include them because their near small parts size is a concern We also note that following aggressive enforcement of an all out ban by the CPSC small powerful magnets that do fit in the choke test cylinder are nearly impossible to purchase although we did find one foreign Internet site that still sells them Excessive Noise Excessive noise exposure can lead to hearing loss This is especially problematic for young children because hearing loss at an early age has ramifications for speech development Our shoppers found five toys marketed to children under three years that are estimated to be either at or slightly above the decibel standards recommended for close to the ear toys which included a toy animal car flashlight magnetic letter set and a remote Lead Even low levels of lead in blood have been shown to undermine IQ attentiveness and academic achievement While our shoppers did not find any toys with high levels of lead the CPSC has recalled toys due to lead limit violations this year Despite recent progress in making toys safer the findings of our 2015 investigation as well as recent recalls and legal actions against importers highlight the need for continued attention to shortcomings in existing standards and vigilance on the part of the shopping public To keep children safe from potentially hazardous toys there is still more to do Policymakers should continue building upon recent progress in the strengthening of toy safety standards The CPSC should Continue to vigorously enforce the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act s mandatory standards for toys including strict limits on lead and lead paint in any toys jewelry or other articles for children under 12 years Vigorously enforce the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act s permanent ban on the use of three specific phthalates in all toys and children s products Upgrade the interim ban on three additional phthalates into a permanent prohibition and expand it to include additional phthalates Enlarge the small parts test tube to be more protective of

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/njp/trouble-toyland-2015 (2016-04-29)
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  • Why You Should Get Security Freezes Before Your Information is Stolen | NJPIRG
    the first place How does a security freeze prevent new accounts from being opened It works by blocking your credit report from being shared with potential new creditors such as banks or credit card companies Most creditors will not issue new credit to a customer if they cannot see that customer s credit report or score derived from it from at least one of the three major national credit bureaus So if a thief applies for a new account in your name with your Social Security number and his or her own address but your credit report is frozen creditors will simply not open a new account That s why a security freeze offers peace of mind and is the only way to prevent someone from opening a new account in your name Note Some creditors such as some cell phone and utility companies may not check with the bureaus before opening new accounts So the best course of action for most consumers is to place security freezes with the three major credit bureaus Consumers in every state can choose to have their credit reports frozen until they want to apply for credit at which time they can easily unfreeze or thaw their reports by lifting their freezes 1 Consumers who choose a security freeze should account for the time it can take to thaw their reports if they want to apply for credit in the future In most cases if you request a thaw online or over the phone your report can be unfrozen within 15 minutes 2 However it can take longer if you don t have your PIN number that was assigned to you when you froze your report By law credit bureaus have up to three days of receipt of your request to lift a freeze This report explores the best options you have against new account identity theft walks you through freezing and unfreezing your credit reports and explains defenses against other types of identity theft Best Options against New Account Identity Theft These steps are recommended for all consumers whether their information has been stolen in a data breach or not Place a security freeze also known as a credit freeze on your credit report at each of the three major national credit bureaus This is the ONLY reliable prevention of someone opening new financial accounts in your name Next steps after placing security freezes include Use your free annual credit reports as a form of free credit monitoring Opt out of allowing your credit reports to be used to generate pre approved pre screened credit insurance offers In addition to the above steps the following steps are also recommended for consumers whose information has been stolen in a data breach Sign up for free ID protection services and credit monitoring if they are offered for free as a result of your personal information being stolen Place free renewable fraud alerts on your credit report if your Social Security number was stolen and if

    Original URL path: http://njpirg.org/reports/usf/why-you-should-get-security-freezes-your-information-stolen (2016-04-29)
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