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  • Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole | PennPIRG
    many states companies calculate their tax liability based on their income held in subsidiaries incorporated within the water s edge that is within the United States By declaring a statutory list of tax havens states can tax corporate profits held in tax havens that lie past the water s edge Before closing the water s edge loophole states must adopt combined reporting which requires corporations to list the profits of all their subsidiaries on their tax forms Combined reporting provides states with a ready formula that can be applied to tax haven income to determine which portion should be taxable by the state To date 23 states and the District of Columbia have adopted combined reporting requirements but of these jurisdictions only Montana and Oregon have also closed the water s edge loophole by creating a statutory list of tax haven countries to be accounted for in corporate combined reports Montana is now collecting millions of dollars in additional tax revenue and Oregon is poised to do the same with its new law coming into force in 2014 Closing the water s edge loophole allowed Montana to collect 4 2 million in corporate taxes that would have otherwise gone uncollected in 2008 In 2010 the last year for which data are available closing the water s edge loophole allowed Montana to collect an additional 7 2 million After closing the water s edge loophole in 2013 Oregon s Legislative Revenue Office expects the state will collect 18 million in corporate taxes in the 2014 tax year that would have otherwise gone uncollected In the 2015 2017 biennium the Legislative Revenue Office expects the state will collect an additional 42 million Other states too should close the water s edge loophole In doing so they could collect millions in additional tax revenue to reduce the tax burden on other taxpayers or increase needed services In addition to Montana and Oregon twenty one states and the District of Columbia have combined reporting and could implement this reform If they had joined Montana and Oregon in closing the water s edge loophole they could have collected an additional billion dollars in combined revenues in 2012 note that this figure was calculated using 2012 data for all states except Massachusetts where an official state generated estimate for 2011 was used instead see Table ES 1 Closing the water s edge loophole would be a good start for states in reclaiming a portion of the state revenues lost to tax havens In 2011 offshore tax havens cost states an estimated total of 20 7 billion in corporate tax revenue California lost 3 3 billion to offshore tax havens the most lost by any state States that close the water s edge loophole could also put pressure on Congress to stop offshore tax haven abuse at the federal level Table ES 1 Closing the Water s Edge Loophole Would Have Generated Millions of Dollars of Additional Tax Revenue in 2012 With one exception Massachusetts all revenue

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/closing-billion-dollar-loophole (2016-04-27)
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  • The Unfriendly Skies | PennPIRG
    with other DOT data that tracks airlines on time performance and baggage handling The report finds that consumer s most complaints were about Flight Problems such as delays and cancellations Other top problems were about baggage customer service as issues with reservations bookings and boarding Over time Flight Problems account for an increasing portion of the total complaints The airline that generated the most complaints relative to number of passengers was Spirit Airlines Each year Spirit s passengers were about three times as likely to file a complaint as the second place airline and its complaints volume is trending upward over time Southwest Airlines generated the lowest number of complaints relative to number of passengers each year U S PIRG Education Fund s experience with other government agencies and their consumer complaint processes is that greater transparency and public education including the establishment of a searchable public database of complaints leads to greater compliance by regulated firms and improved customer service Among other recommendations the report recommends the following That the Department of Transportation DOT establish a searchable public database of consumer airline complaints to supplement its monthly summary reports That the DOT move more of its air travel databases onto the machine readable data gov platform That policymakers provide funding for the unfunded air passenger consumer complaint hotline established in 2012 That the DOT require airlines to report complaint data about frequent flyer programs separately so that it can be added to the data that are available in DOT reports and in the future searchable public consumer complaint database Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods Reining in Wall Street Act

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/unfriendly-skies (2016-04-27)
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  • Debating trade and consumer protection in Brussels today | PennPIRG
    International Court System But as my colleague Ira Rheingold of the National Association of Consumer Advocates argued forcefully earlier You can put lipstick on a pig but it s still a pig TACD makes our more detailed policy arguments in this new ICS paper http tacd org response to the eu commissions investor state dispute se Regulated corporations already have a phalanx of lawyers and numerous legal and regulatory venues to challenge consumer protection laws and rules They don t need another one especially one that gives them a secretive extra legal tribunal where their rights are essentially elevated to those of sovereign nations Instead of making consumer and corporate rights more balanced TTIP with ISDS or ICS would give corporations yet another weapon against strong state and federal laws Precautionary Principle All consumer and environmental groups believe strongly that we shouldn t allow the use of new chemicals new prescription drugs or new processes until they have been proven safe Industry would prefer the opposite use unless they are demonstrated to be harmful Most European and US laws now operate under a Err on the safety side or precautionary principle For example the US Food and Drug Administration requires extensive testing of new drug safety One glaring flaw in US law is its Toxic Substances Control Act which is about to be upgraded somewhat by Congress but as my USPIRG colleague Carli Jensen points out not upgraded enough http www uspirg org blogs blog usp our take toxics build stronger hous Europe s REACH Act on chemical safety is much better While Cecilia Malmström EU Trade Commissioner argued strongly today on her panel that We are not negotiating REACH in TTIP we at TACD remain concerned that TTIP does contain chemical safety provisions Especially if TTIP includes ISDS ICS all laws including REACH that are based on the precautionary principle are at risk While after a hard slog tobacco control groups succeeded in removing tobacco from the ISDS provisions of the recent Trans Pacific Partnership TPP see the end of this Public Citizen TPP release which explains that the tobacco carveout is the only meaningful new ISDS safeguard http www citizen org documents NAFTA ISDS KeystoneXL Statement pdf Good for tobacco control and we support it but instead why not protect all health and safety laws by keeping them out of the full scope of entire trade agreements It s been a good forum Other keynote speakers include Ignacio Garcia Bercero EU Chief TTIP Negotiator DG Trade European Commission Julie Brill an FTC Commissioner and privacy expert and Michael Punke deputy U S Trade Representative he is perhaps now more well known as the author of the book The Revenant but the US says he cannot talk about it or the new movie In her remarks my fellow TACD Steering Committee co chair Monique Goyens Director General of BEUC the European Consumer Organization at http www beuc eu pointed out that she has been outraged by the general characterization

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/blogs/eds-blog/usp/debating-trade-and-consumer-protection-brussels-today (2016-04-27)
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  • We Commend CFPB For Adding Consumer Stories To Public Complaint Database | PennPIRG
    researchers will now be able to compare firms based on how many interactions a consumer had before she obtained redress how many months elapsed how much money was in dispute and how much if any was returned Consumers will be able to read stories about other consumers problems which will inform their own choices Companies will be able to take advanatge of the database to avoid practices that get other firms in trouble This is absolutely a win for everyone Over 10 000 of our members joined us in comments to the CFPB in support of this important expansion proposal The CFPB listened The nation s largest public government complaint database with over 627 000 complaints received in just 4 years is now even better because consumers are empowered to help others make better choices by voluntarily making their own redacted stories public 30 Public Interest Research Groups are non partisan non profit organizations that take on powerful interests on behalf of their members Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Contact Ed Mierzwinski 202 546 9707 x314 Contact person by email Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases Reports Resources Results Take Action Donate

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/we-commend-cfpb-adding-consumer-stories-public-complaint-database (2016-04-27)
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  • How Companies Turn Your Facebook Activity Into a Credit Score | PennPIRG
    everything from social media profiles and online searches to public records and retail loyalty cards they likely know things including but not limited to your age race gender and income who your friends are whether you re ill looking for a job getting married having a baby or trying to buy a home Today we all swim in murky waters in which we re constantly tracked analyzed and scored without knowing what information is being collected about us how it s being weighted or why it matters much of it as irrelevant and inaccurate as the hearsay assembled during the early days of consumer reporting Read more in The Nation In addition to citing our ground breaking work in this area the story also includes analysis by Professor Frank Pasquale author of The Black Box Society The Secret Algorithms That Control Money and Information Harvard University Press January 2015 Frank joined me our co investigator Jeff Chester of the Center for Digital Democracy Alexis Goldstein of the Other98 com Sarah Ludwig of the New Economy Project NYC Jessica Rich of the FTC and Peggy Twohig of the CFPB for a recent livestream event Looking at the Black Box Society We ve posted the event video in 3 chapters here on our Youtube page This page is the home for our Digital Data and Consumer Protection project which includes links to our reports and other activities Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/media/pap/how-companies-turn-your-facebook-activity-credit-score (2016-04-27)
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  • PIRG Commends Supporters of Duckworth Amendment to Protect Our Troops From High-Cost Loans | PennPIRG
    was 32 30 with 5 Republicans joining all 27 Democratic members of the House Armed Services Committee in support We re disappointed that predatory lenders led by the American Financial Services Association and the payday lenders had originally prevailed on some committee members to insert the provision into the bill in subcommittee We expect further attacks on the Department of Defense s important new rules on the House floor and in the Senate but are prepared to stand alongside Rep Duckworth and Senator Jack Reed RI and others who are working to protect our troops while others who may often say support our troops are working against them For more details on the history of the Military Lending Act and the proposed improvements see my blog post here 30 U S PIRG the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and underrepresented communities and advocating for a 21st century transportation system Job Description Contact Ed Mierzwinski 202 546 9707 x314 Contact person by email Archives Blog Media Hits News Releases

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/pirg-commends-supporters-duckworth-amendment-protect-our-troops-high-cost-loans (2016-04-27)
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  • PIRG Commends Release of Labor Dept.'s Proposed Rule To End Conflicted Retirement Advice | PennPIRG
    it and spend millions to kill it added U S PIRG Consumer Program Director Ed Mierzwinski But make no mistake This is the right thing for savers of all ages 30 U S PIRG the federation of state Public Interest Research Groups is a consumer group that stands up to powerful interests whenever they threaten our health and safety our financial security or our right to fully participate in our democratic society U S PIRG is a member of saveourretirement com the coalition formed to promote and defend the proposed rule to require retirement advisors to put consumers first Search form Search About Issues Stop the Overuse of Antibiotics Campaign for Safe Energy Democracy For The People Stop the Highway Boondoggles Close Corporate Tax Loopholes Making Health Care Work Protecting Consumers Label GMO Foods 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 Our Federation Featured Position PennPIRG Internship Work on some of the hottest political issues of the day from fighting the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms to promoting campaign finance reform and tackling Citizens United improving voter access for students and

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/usp/pirg-commends-release-labor-depts-proposed-rule-end-conflicted-retirement-advice (2016-04-27)
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  • NEW REPORT: Pennsylvania Receives "B" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending | PennPIRG
    of its checkbook level spending data in bulk and so is at risk of falling behind next year The state s site which cost 900 000 to launch does provide detailed checkbook level data about four of its five largest economic development programs States that have created or improved their online transparency have typically done so with little upfront cost In fact top flight transparency websites can save money for taxpayers while also restoring public confidence in government preventing misspending and pay to play contracts Pennsylvania s transparency site maintained annually from the existing budget of the Office of Administration Open and accessible state budgets are important so that the public can see where its tax dollars are being spent and hold their state government accountable for its decisions said Sunlight Foundation National Policy Manager Emily Shaw It s encouraging to see more states prioritizing open data policies and taking the steps necessary to make their data truly accessible State spending transparency appears to be a non partisan issue The report compared transparency scores with a variety of measures of state legislative gubernatorial or public opinion partisanship and found that neither Republican nor Democratic states tended to have higher levels of spending disclosure The state of Ohio topped the rankings climbing from a D in 2014 to an A this year for its improvements to the Online Checkbook transparency portal Ohio Treasurer Josh Mandel said I m proud to have built OhioCheckbook com and taken Ohio s transparency ranking from 46th to 1st in the nation The work U S PIRG s doing on open government is helping set off a national race for transparency My office was motivated to participate in this race and we will continue to work with U S PIRG and others to empower taxpayers to

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/new-report-pennsylvania-receives-b-annual-report-transparency-government-spending (2016-04-27)
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