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  • Tax | PennPIRG
    that 82 maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens Collectively the companies report holding nearly 1 2 trillion offshore with 15 companies accounting for two thirds of the offshore cash Read more about New Study 82 of Top 100 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2012 News Release PennPIRG Food Tax Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies Per Taxpayer but Only Half of an Apple Apiece Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year according to PennPIRG s new report Apples to Twinkies 2013 Meanwhile subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy just one half of an apple per taxpayer per year Read more about Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 Twinkies Per Taxpayer but Only Half of an Apple Apiece Report PennPIRG Food Tax Apples to Twinkies Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year according to Penn PIRG s new report Apples to Twinkies 2013 Meanwhile subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy just one half of an apple per taxpayer per year Read more about Apples to Twinkies Issue Health Care Fighting The High Cost Of Rx Drugs Brand name drug companies have been paying off generic drug makers to delay competition and keep prices high This widespread pay for delay scheme needs to be put to an end Read more about Fighting The High Cost Of Rx Drugs Report PennPIRG Education Fund Tax Following the Money 2013 Every year state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts with private entities for goods and services subsidies to encourage economic development grants and other forms of spending Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that state funds are well spent Read more about Following the Money 2013 News Release PennPIRG Education Fund Tax Offshore Tax Dodging Blows a 2 1 Billion Hole in Pennsylvania Budget Federal taxpayers are not the only victims of offshore tax havens Tax havens deprive state governments of billions of dollars in badly needed revenues as well Based how much income is federally reported in each state and on state tax rates it is possible to calculate how much each of the state governments lose as a result of offshore tax dodging Read more about Offshore Tax Dodging Blows a 2 1 Billion Hole in Pennsylvania Budget Report PennPIRG Education Fund Tax The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens When U S corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the federal government it is an abuse of our tax system Tax haven abusers benefit from our markets infrastructure educated workforce and security but they pay next to nothing for these benefits Ultimately taxpayers must pick up the tab either in the form of higher taxes cuts to public spending priorities or increased national debt Read more

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/topics/tax (2016-04-27)
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  • Following the Money 2016 | PennPIRG
    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 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/paf/following-money-2016 (2016-04-27)
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  • Highway Boondoggles 2 | PennPIRG
    scarce transportation dollars include I 95 widening Connecticut 11 2 billion Widening the highway across the entire state of Connecticut would do little to solve congestion along one of the nation s most high intensity travel corridors Tampa Bay Express Lanes Florida 3 3 billion State officials admit that a decades old plan to construct toll lanes would not solve the region s problems with congestion while displacing critical community job training and recreational facilities State Highway 45 Southwest Texas 109 million Building a new four mile four lane toll road would increase traffic on one of the most congested highways in Austin and increase water pollution in an environmentally sensitive area critical for recharging an aquifer that provides drinking water to 2 million Texans San Gabriel Valley Route 710 tunnel California 3 2 billion to 5 6 billion State officials are considering the most expensive most polluting and least effective option for addressing the area s transportation problems a double bore tunnel I 70 East widening Colorado 58 million While replacing a crumbling viaduct that needs to be addressed Colorado proposes wasting millions of dollars widening the road and increasing pollution in the surrounding community I 77 Express Lanes North Carolina 647 million A project that state criteria say does not merit funding is moving forward because a private company is willing to contribute taxpayers will still be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars Puget Sound Gateway Washington 2 8 billion to 3 1 billion The state is proposing to spend billions of dollars on a highway to relieve congestion in an area where traffic has not grown for more than a decade and where other pressing needs for transportation funding exist State Highway 249 extension Texas 337 million to 389 million The Texas Department of Transportation relies on outdated traffic projections to justify building a 30 mile six lane highway through an area already suffering from air quality problems U S 20 widening Iowa 286 million Hundreds of millions of dollars that could pay for much needed repairs to existing roads are being diverted to widen a road that does not need expansion to handle future traffic Paseo del Volcan extension New Mexico 96 million A major landholder is hoping to get taxpayer funding to build a road that would open thousands of acres of desert to sprawling development Portsmouth bypass Ohio 429 million Despite roads across Ohio being in dire need of repair the state Department of Transportation is embarking upon its most expensive project ever building a new road to bypass a 20 000 person city where driving is decreasing Mon Fayette Expressway extension Pennsylvania 1 7 billion A new toll road long criticized because it would damage communities is moving forward in an area where residents are calling instead for repairs to existing roads and investment in transit improvements Several states are re evaluating the wisdom of boondoggle highway projects either shelving them entirely or forcing revisions to the projects The Illiana

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/highway-boondoggles-2 (2016-04-27)
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  • Trouble in Toyland | PennPIRG
    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 children under three Change the small ball rule to include small round or semi round objects and not just balls in the strictest definition since these toys pose the

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/trouble-toyland-2 (2016-04-27)
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  • Democracy | PennPIRG
    giving over 1 000 And fewer than 5 500 large donors matched the primary contributions coming from at least 440 000 donors nationwide Read more about Big Money Dominates in Congressional Primaries News Release PennPIRG Democracy ON DAY OF ORAL ARGUMENT IN MCCUTCHEON V FEC GROUPS GATHER TO PUSH BACK ON BIG MONEY IN POLITICS DEMAND SOLUTIONS Today PennPIRG The Sierra Club UFCW 1776 Local Common Cause Philly Rootstrikers WolfPAC JustLaws and State Representative Mark Cohen gathered at the James A Byrne Courthouse to push back on the power of big money in elections as the U S Supreme Court today heard oral arguments in McCutcheon v FEC Advocates say the case would further increase the electoral clout of a few large donors Read more about ON DAY OF ORAL ARGUMENT IN MCCUTCHEON V FEC GROUPS GATHER TO PUSH BACK ON BIG MONEY IN POLITICS DEMAND SOLUTIONS Issue Health Care Fighting The High Cost Of Rx Drugs Brand name drug companies have been paying off generic drug makers to delay competition and keep prices high This widespread pay for delay scheme needs to be put to an end Read more about Fighting The High Cost Of Rx Drugs Report PennPIRG PennEnvironment Democracy Elections for Shale Fracking corporation EQT and the rest of the industry spend millions on electoral politics at the state and federal level elevating their interests and making it more difficult for ordinary citizens to have their voices heard Concurrently the industry exploits loopholes to pay extremely low taxes receives thousands of permits to drill on public lands and is exempted from many basic environmental standards Read more about Elections for Shale Report PennPIRG Democracy Elections Confidential Elections Confidential describes how secret donors poured hundreds of millions into the 2012 election through social welfare non profits that are

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/topics/democracy (2016-04-27)
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  • Boosting the Impact of Small Donors | PennPIRG
    a public financing system that amplifies the voices of small donors in our elections The 2016 election will likely break all previous campaign spending records But more important than the amount of money spent is where that money is coming from Under our current system courting wealthy mega donors who often have different priorities and policy preferences than most voters has taken precedence over appealing to everyday Americans It doesn t have to be that way What if our campaign finance system encouraged candidates to raise money from everyday citizens making small contributions This report examines how the 2016 fundraising picture through the July Federal Election Commission FEC filing deadline would look if a small donor campaign finance system were in place where small contributions were matched with limited public funds for candidates who agree to turn down large contributions This analysis demonstrates that under such a system candidates relying on large donors would have a powerful incentive to shift their fundraising strategy to focus on small donors and access to a narrow set of wealthy donors or vast personal wealth would not determine the viability of a presidential campaign 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/pap/boosting-impact-small-donors (2016-04-27)
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  • Mortgages and Mortgage Complaints | PennPIRG
    mortgages are the most common complaint in the CFPB s database Since it began accepting mortgage complaints in December 2011 the CFPB has published 138 086 complaints about mortgages the most complaints received about any financial product Through March 16 2015 38 of all published complaints in the database were mortgage complaints Although annual mortgage complaint volumes declined slightly in 2014 as the volume of the CFPB s 10 other product complaint categories i e debt collection credit reporting credit card bank account or service consumer loan student loan payday loan money transfers prepaid card and other financial services continued to grow data are insufficient to predict a declining trend See Figure ES 1 and Table ES 1 Figure ES 1 Consumer Complaints about Mortgages over Time In early 2015 debt collection complaints became the 1 complaint to be published in the CFPB s database on a monthly basis Mortgage complaints however remain at 2 on a monthly basis and are still the 1 complaint overall The vast majority of mortgage complaints 85 fall into two issue categories Problems when consumers are unable to pay categorized in the database as loan modification collection foreclosure make up 55 of the total problems making payments categorized in the database as loan servicing payments and escrow account make up 30 The other four issue categories total 15 See Figure ES 2 Figure ES 2 Breakdown of Complaints by Issue Five out of the six mortgage issues declined in volume One issue complaints related to making payments loan serving payments escrow account complaints continues to increase See Figure ES 3 Such complaints increased by 19 in 2014 compared to 2013 The CFPB says that payment related complaints include loan servicing payments and escrow accounts Figure ES 3 Consumer Complaints about Mortgages by Issue over Time Ten companies account for 77 of all mortgage complaints to the CFPB Bank of America Wells Fargo Ocwen JPMorgan Chase Nationstar Mortgage Citibank Green Tree Servicing HSBC U S Bancorp and PNC Bank Bank of America has the most total mortgage complaints with 31 123 making up about 23 of all mortgage complaints Bank of America was the most complained about company in 45 states and the District of Columbia Wells Fargo was complained about the most in five states When adjusted for market share the three most complained about companies are Ocwen Nationstar Mortgage and Bank of America in that order Recommendations The Consumer Complaint Database is an essential tool in the effort to protect consumers from deceptive and abusive practices in the financial marketplace The CFPB has acted on recommendations we have made in previous reports to improve the quality of the Consumer Complaint Database and the effectiveness of the bureau We commend the CFPB for Adding complaint narratives to the database In March 2015 the CFPB started allowing consumers to opt into publicly sharing the details of their complaints in the database The first 7 700 narratives were published on June 25 2015 No personally identifiable

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/reports/usp/mortgages-and-mortgage-complaints (2016-04-27)
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  • PennPIRG | Standing Up To Powerful Interests
    than 5 500 large donors matched the primary contributions coming from at least 440 000 donors nationwide Keep Reading Report PennPIRG Education Fund Transportation Millennials in Motion Millennials are less car focused than older Americans and previous generations of young people and their transportation behaviors continue to change in ways that reduce driving Now is the time for the nation s transportation policies to acknowledge accommodate and support Millennials demands for a greater array of transportation choices Keep Reading Pages first previous 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 next last News Release Budget Transportation New Report Outlines Problems with Red Light and Speed Cameras Philadelphia PA A new research report released today outlines problems with the growing trend among cities to outsource traffic enforcement to red light and speed camera vendors Keep Reading Media Hit Budget Transportation Post Gazette Group urges caution on cameras for red light enforcement A public interest group today issued a report recommending that governments exercise caution in deploying automated red light enforcement cameras at intersections Keep Reading Media Hit Budget Transportation Essential Public Radio Research Group Cautions About Red Light Cameras With the state legislature debating possible expansion of red light cameras from Philadelphia to Pittsburgh and 18 other Pennsylvania cities Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group PennPIRG warns of their ineffectiveness Keep Reading Media Hit Budget Transportation Central Penn Business Journal Judge privatization panel on results supporters say Sometime toward the end of the month Gov Tom Corbett s newly appointed privatization council is expected to convene for its first meeting When it does it will have a broad mandate Members will look across the entire spectrum of state functions to find potential savings Corbett spokesman Kevin Harley said Keep Reading Media Hit Financial Reform Post Gazette Please protect consumers Sen Toomey For more than two months the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau a centerpiece of the 2010 Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act has been up and running It s the nation s first federal financial regulator with the singular duty of protecting consumers including specifically members of the armed services from unfair financial practices Keep Reading Pages first previous 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 next last Report PennPIRG Education Fund Consumer Protection PIRG s Trouble In Toyland The recall of 45 million toys and other children s products in 2007 and continued recalls in 2008 reminded Americans that no government agency tests toys before they are put on the shelves Specifically the wave of recalls focused attention on the fact that the agency charged with protecting Americans from unsafe products the Consumer Product Safety Commission is a little agency with a very big job to do Keep Reading Pages first previous 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 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

    Original URL path: http://www.pennpirg.org/home?page=16 (2016-04-27)
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