archive-org.com » ORG » P » PENNPIRG.ORG

Total: 461

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

Or switch to "Titles and links view".
  • Offshore Tax Dodging Blows a $2.1 Billion Hole in Pennsylvania Budget | PennPIRG
    the state s general sales tax rate without a loss of public revenue based on the 8 95 billion in PA sales tax reported by the US Census Cover the combined cost of Pennsylvania s state police 205 million public health department 188 million and budget for libraries 64 8 million based on Governor Corbett s budget proposal Feb 5 2013 Tax havens are used by both wealthy individuals and corporations In Pennsylvania 1 78 billion is lost from the corporate abuse of tax havens and 324 million from individuals As of 2008 at least 83 of the top 100 publicly traded corporations in the U S used tax havens according to the Government Accountability Office At the end of 2011 290 of the top Fortune 500 companies reported that they collectively held a staggering 1 6 trillion offshore By using offshore tax havens corporations and wealthy individuals shift the tax burden to ordinary Americans forcing us to make up the difference through cutting public services growing our already big deficit or raising taxes on everyday citizens At the national level offshore tax loopholes cost federal taxpayers 150 billion each year which would be more than enough to cover the scheduled spending cuts that are set to take effect in just a few weeks Some budget decisions are tough but closing the offshore tax loopholes that let large companies shift their tax burden to the rest of us is a no brainer Lee added States should not wait for federal action to curb tax haven abuse The study proposes several policy solutions that states should explore right away including Decoupling state tax systems from the federal tax system Requiring worldwide combined reporting for multinational corporations Requiring increased disclosure of financial information and Withholding state taxes as part of federal FATCA Foreign Account Tax Compliance Act withholding Here are some increasingly notorious ways that some of America s largest corporations drastically shrink their tax bill Google used accounting techniques nicknamed the double Irish and the Dutch sandwich which involved two Irish subsidiaries and one in Bermuda to help shrink its tax bill by 3 1 billion from 2008 to 2010 Wells Fargo paid no federal income taxes in 2008 2009 and 2010 despite being profitable all three years largely due to its use of 58 offshore tax haven subsidiaries Microsoft avoided 4 5 billion in federal income taxes over three years by using sophisticated accounting tricks to artificially shift its income to tax friendly Puerto Rico The company pays its Puerto Rican subsidiary 47 of the revenue generated from its American sales despite the fact that those products were developed and sold in the U S You can download the report The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens State Budgets Under Pressure from Tax Loophole Abuse here http pennpirg org reports pap hidden cost offshore tax havens The PennPIRG Education Fund conducts research and public education on behalf of Pennsylvania s consumers and the public interest Our research analysis reports and

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/offshore-tax-dodging-blows-21-billion-hole-pennsylvania-budget (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive


  • New Report Shows Impact of Big Money in the 2012 Election | PennPIRG
    The report provides a detailed analysis of all federal election spending and fundraising by campaigns and Super PACs The data uncovers the undue influence that large donors business interests and secret spenders had in 2012 For two of the 10 most active Super PACs corporate donations accounted for a large portion of the funds making up 18 percent of Restore Our Future and 52 6 percent of FreedomWorks for America s total contributions Allowing this special interest money to fund attack ads on candidates distorts our democracy Corporations are attempting to ensure that our elected officials put industry interests above the common good according to Lee Billion Dollar Democracy also found that groups that do not disclose the source of their funds paid for nearly half of all television advertising in the presidential race These dark money groups hide key information from voters about where they get their money noted Lee Furthermore because there s no one to hold responsible for the content of their advertising studies show that ads funded by dark money are far more likely to be misleading or just downright lying The report concludes with policy recommendations for every level of government to ensure that ordinary Americans can make their voices heard in our political process Mostimportantly the report calls for a statewide resolution to overturn Citizens united and restore our ability to set reasonable limits on campaign spending READ DOLLAR DEMOCRACY HERE http pennpirg org reports pap billion dollar democracy PennPIRG is a nonprofit nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of Pennsylvanians 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/new-report-shows-impact-big-money-2012-election (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Philadelphia Organizations, Citizens, and Elected Officials Hold Press Conference and Rally to Overturn Citizens United | PennPIRG
    PennPIRG released a new report Billion Dollar Democracy that analyzes Federal Elections Commission data to quantify how political power is concentrated in the hands of a wealthy few It took just 32 mega donors giving to super PACs to match every single dollar small donors gave to both Romney and Obama combined Lee announced The full report can be found here http pennpirg org reports pap billion dollar democracy Protesters in Philadelphia are part of a nationwide day of action called Money Out Voters In taking place on and around the weekend of Jan 19 Activists in over 70 towns and cities are rallying to demand lawmakers pass measures that limit the corrosive influence of money in politics and expand democratic participation at the polls Citizens United is perpetuating a trend that puts the interests of ordinary Americans behind the interests of the super wealthy and powerful said State Representative Mark Cohen Big money in the form of super PACs affords the corporate and financially elite inordinate influence on the political process which usually results in inordinate influence on public policy Speaking today were representatives from PennPIRG Public Citizen Philadelphia Rootstrikers Common Cause Sierra Club the Philadelphia Ethical Humanist Society Jobs with Justice Brandywine Peace Community MoveOn WolfPAC Poor People s Economic Human Rights Campaign Decarcerate PA and Peace Action Also speaking were Reverend Micah Sims from the Empowerment Foundation Rabbi Arthur Waskow from the Shalom Center and Crown Prince Emperor El Bey Bigbay Pamunkey from the Powhatan renape Nation Indian Reservation Councilwoman Maria Quinones Sanchez State Representative Cherelle Parker State Representative Mark Cohen and former State Representative Babette Josephs also spoke at the event PennPIRG is a nonprofit nonpartisan public interest advocacy organization that stands up to powerful special interests on behalf of Pennsylvanians Search form Search About Issues

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/philadelphia-organizations-citizens-and-elected-officials-hold-press-conference-and-rally (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Report Exposes How Taxpayers Bear Cost of Corporate Settlements | PennPIRG
    supposed to forbid corporations from deducting the cost of fines and penalties including when corporations agree to pay these punitive measures as part of a negotiated settlement However unless explicitly told otherwise corporate wrongdoers utilize ambiguities in the tax law to avoid paying a significant portion of such payments For instance the 1 5 billion settlement that UBS agreed to last month could burden taxpayers with up to 245 million in tax subsidies That s quite a hidden bank fee Lee added The report offers several recommendations for the federal government in order to better protect taxpayers from having to pay for portions of corporate settlements PennPIRG suggests that Agencies should be instructed to publicize the expected after tax amounts of settlements which would more accurately report the net penalty that will be paid by the corporation This is a matter of truth in advertising The President should instruct federal regulatory bodies to assume full responsibility for determining the extent to which settlement payments are punitive and therefore nondeductible When companies treat public harm as an acceptable business risk agencies should forbid tax deductibility of settlement payments Following the recommendations of the past three administrations Congress should prohibit the tax deduction of punitive settlement payments to private parties The tax treatment of settlements has a very real impact on peoples lives Every dollar that doesn t get paid to the Treasury means another dollar in debt cutbacks or higher taxes that the rest of us must bear said Lee The report is available here 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/report-exposes-how-taxpayers-bear-cost-corporate-settlements (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive

  • First Step to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff: Close Offshore Tax Loopholes | PennPIRG
    GAO American companies like Wal Mart Coca Cola and Pfizer which benefit from our educated workforce infrastructure and security keep more than 70 of their cash offshore Thirty of America s largest most profitable corporations actually made money off our tax code between 2008 and 2010 by avoiding taxes altogether and receiving tax rebates from the government By using offshore tax havens corporations and wealthy individuals shift the tax burden to ordinary Americans forcing us make up the difference through cuts to public services a bigger deficit or higher taxes for everyday citizens As the owner of Trolley Car Diner and Trolley Car Cafe I don t get to take advantage of the same tax loop holes as large corporations said said Ken Weinstein a Pennsylvanian small business owner Big business has an unfair advantage over my small business and I end up paying more in taxes as a result Large corporations need to pay their fair share To illustrate the size of the revenue lost each year to tax havens PennPIRG presented 16 specific ways it could be spent in a fact sheet released today titled What America Could Do With 150 Billion Lost to Tax Havens Examples include Provide Pell Grants for ten million college students every year for four years Bring transportation into the 21st Century by funding construction of 15 commuter rail lines 50 light rail transit lines and more than 800 bus rapid transit lines Provide a tax cut of 1 068 for every person who filed taxes in America Perhaps most strikingly reclaiming the 150 billion lost to offshore tax loopholes would more than cover the 109 billion in automatic spending cuts that will take effect in 2013 if Congress fails to avert the fiscal cliff In fact over ten years this lost revenue would be enough to achieve 37 5 of the 4 trillion debt reduction goal for that period favored by bipartisan leaders in Congress There are some tough budget decisions ahead but closing the offshore tax loopholes that let large companies shift their tax burden to the rest of us should be an easy one Lee added To download the fact sheet What America Could Do With 150 Billion Lost to Tax Havens click here A Few Ways some of America s largest corporations drastically shrink their tax bill Google uses techniques nicknamed the double Irish and the Dutch sandwich involving two Irish subsidiaries and one in Bermuda a tax haven that helped shrink its tax bill by 3 1 billion between 2008 and 2010 Wells Fargo paid no federal income taxes between 2008 and 2010 despite being profitable all three years in part due to its use of 58 offshore tax haven subsidiaries Microsoft avoided 4 5 billion in federal income taxes over three years using sophisticated accounting tricks to artificially shift its income to tax friendly Puerto Rico The American company pays its Puerto Rican subsidiary 47 of the revenue generated from selling products in America that were developed

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/news/pap/first-step-avoid-fiscal-cliff-close-offshore-tax-loopholes (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Big Banks, Bigger Fees | PennPIRG
    you applied for an account or told researchers to go online Another 16 only provided partial information Researchers found a wide variety of free or low cost checking options with 63 of small banks and 60 of credit unions providing totally free checking Although the biggest banks have recently tightened requirements to obtain totally free checking available at only 24 of big bank branches it is still available at more than half of big banks with a regular direct deposit 59 The survey found that small banks had lower average checking account fees overdraft fees and foreign or off us ATM fees as well as lower balance requirements to avoid checking fees than big banks In a surprising finding fully one quarter of small banks are no longer charging their regular checking account customers so called off us ATM fees through a variety of regional and national ATM networks including Plus Smartpass Presto the SUM network and others Additionally others are providing at least 2 4 off us transactions monthly at no charge These practices undercut one of the presumed major benefits of an account at a big bank access to large no cost ATM networks Some small banks are also reimbursing several or all surcharges paid monthly surcharges are the fees imposed by the off us ATM owner Conversely only two big banks 6 waived offus ATM fees on basic checking accounts and one of those only did in one of its markets While more than half of big banks 62 posted their full fee schedules on the web versus less than one third of small banks 29 finding the fees was often a scavenger hunt Many banks especially big banks placed fees in massive clunky PDF files Some banks even hid fee schedule links in footnotes or worse

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/big-banks-bigger-fees-0 (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Distorted Democracy: The Post-Election Edition | PennPIRG
    we reverse Citizens United Congress should empower shareholders at corporations to have final say on whether the corporations they own may spend money in elections thereby creating a minimum system of people powered checks and balances on business money in politics Dark Money Of the 1 28 billion in outside spending reported to the FEC nearly one quarter or 298 9 million was dark money that cannot be traced back to an original source Americans across the political spectrum have long held transparency in campaign funding to be crucial When citizens can t follow the money voters can t judge the credibility of political communications and corporations and other special interests can fund misleading advertisements without facing accountability Policy Recommendations Congress and the states should enact laws that create transparency and allow Americans to trace every penny spent on elections back to an original source The Securities and Exchange Commission should issue a rule requiring publicly traded corporations to disclose their political spending to their shareholders both direct spending and gifts to politically active trade associations such as the U S Chamber of Commerce so that at the very least investors know when their money is being used to support causes they oppose Last month new polling found that 76 of Americans support a requirement that companies publicly disclose their contributions to groups like the U S Chamber of Commerce that funnel their money into politics Doubly Secret Money Because of gaps in reporting requirements spending reported to the FEC is only part of the picture Groups are not required to report to any public agency certain spending that is intended to influence an election but falls outside of certain time windows before that election However there are a few races where complete spending information is available from private sources These may give us a sense of the discrepancy between what was reported and what was actually spent by dark money groups For example when all types of outside spending on television ads related to the presidential race are taken into account 37 the spending has come from by dark money groups that do not disclose their donors Policy Recommendations To begin to understand the full scope of dark money in elections Congress must expand the electioneering communications window which presently only captures spending two months before generals and one month before primaries to reflect the true length of modern elections Conclusion It is clear that unlimited corporate and secret money continues to undermine the principle of one person one vote Never before last Tuesday has big money had such a large profile in a national election and the voters spoke clearly we rejected the premise that elections are auctions and that democracy is for sale In the cities and states with direct referenda on money in politics the electorate s stance was clear Colordans rejected unlimited money in elections with 73 of the vote Montana which went overwhelmingly red in the presidential election passed a resolution shooting down the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/distorted-democracy-post-election-edition (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive

  • Distorted Democracy: Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections | PennPIRG
    million from small donors giving less than 200 who are at least 1 972 000 individuals But just 629 megadonors contributing 100 000 or more were responsible for giving a comparable amount 393 4 million in Super PAC donations Because of their wealth and the Supreme Court s equation of money with speech those megadonors are able to amplify their voices to more than 3 100 times the volume of the small donors noted report co author Blair Bowie Democracy Advocate for U S PIRG Super PACs biggest fans Sheldon and Miriam Adelson have given 52 2 million in the 2012 cycle which though a sizable chunk of change is just 21 of their net worth It would take more than 322 000 average American families donating an equivalent share of their wealth 162 to match just the Adelsons giving Business Money to Super PACs While it is likely that much of the business money coming into the elections is funneled through dark money sources such as the U S Chamber of Commerce which so far has spent at least 35 million on races nationwide the analysis found that business corporations remain the second largest source of Super PAC money accounting for 12 of all Super PAC funds Some of the largest and most active Super PACs receive a significant portion of their funding from businesses Pro Romney Restore Our Future received over 20 of its funds from for profit corporations Karl Rove s American Crossroads is 16 8 corporate sponsored with 9 4 of the Dem aligned Majority PAC funding coming from such sources Polling last week found that 84 percent of Americans agree that corporate political spending drowns out the voices of average Americans and 83 percent believe that corporations and corporate CEOs have too much political power and influence Dark Money Of the 1 11 billion in reported outside spending 257 9 million was dark money that cannot be traced back to an original source Doubly Secret Money Because of gaps in reporting requirements spending reported to the FEC is only part of the picture Groups take advantage of loopholes in the law to avoid reporting certain communications intended to influence the elections When all types of outside spending on television ads related to the presidential race are taken into account 32 of the spending has come from dark money groups that do not disclose their donors Americans across the political spectrum have long held transparency in campaign funding to be crucial said Lee When citizens can t follow the money voters can t judge the credibility of political communications and corporations and other special interests can fund misleading advertisements while evading accountability Last week new polling found that 76 of Americans support a requirement that companies publicly disclose their contributions to groups like the U S Chamber of Commerce that funnel their money into politics Voting a Critical Counterbalance PennPIRG and Demos are encouraging every eligible American to go to the polls by November 6th to

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/distorted-democracy-big-money-and-dark-money-2012-elections (2016-04-27)
    Open archived version from archive



  •