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News Release | WASHPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report Shows Washingtonians Are Driving Less

Washingtonians have cut their per-person driving miles by 5.5 percent since 2005, while the nation’s long term driving boom appears to have ended, according to a new report from the WashPIRG Foundation.

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Report | WASHPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Moving Off the Road

Americans have cut their per-person driving miles in 46 states plus Washington, D.C., since the middle of the last decade. The states with the biggest reductions in driving miles generally were not the states hit hardest by the economic downturn. The majority—almost three-quarters—of the states where per-person driving miles declined more quickly than the national average actually saw smaller increases in unemployment compared to the rest of the nation.In Washington state, driving per person in has fallen nearly 9 percent since 1999—it's peak driving year.

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Report | WashPIRG | 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. 

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News Release | WashPIRG | 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 WashPIRG’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.” Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.  These subsidies are part of the Farm Bill that expires in September. Both the Farm Bill approved by the U.S. Senate and the one that passed the House last Thursday would continue these subsidies. 

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Report | WashPIRG

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection

Consumer Financial Protection Bureau takes over Thursday as nation’s consumer bank cop

As the new Consumer Protection Financial Bureau (CFPB) prepares to take over enforcement of all major financial consumer laws on Thursday, a leading consumer group is announcing the results of a poll showing that an overwhelming majority of likely voters both support the new agency (74 percent) and want Wall Street held “accountable” (77 percent).

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Media Hit | Health Care

Health Insurers, Forced to Reveal Financial Data, Tamp Down Rate Increase Requests

Last year, a nasty fight erupted between state Insurance Commissioner Mike Kreidler and Premera Blue Cross. Kreidler was pushing a bill that would force health insurers into publicly disclosing financial data when they asked for rate increases. Premera was trying to water down the bill, prompting Kreidler to ask, "What don't they want the public to see?" For the most part, Kreidler got what he wanted--and yesterday a handful of companies' filings went public for the first time.

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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Senate needs to move forward on confirming new chief for the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau

The good news is that on July 21 the landmark Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) takes over as the nation’s chief consumer bank regulator. The bad news is that because no director has been confirmed, the Bureau will not be able to effectively protect consumers in the financial marketplace that includes payday lenders, mortgage companies, and credit bureaus.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Transportation

Report Examines Whether High-Speed Rail Should Be Public, Private or Both

The report comes at a time when Congress and state officials are debating future funding for high-speed rail, including upgrades to Amtrak’s 467-mile “Cascade Corridor” which connects Eugene, Portland, Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Meanwhile, the U.S. House Transportation and Infrastructure chair has proposed privatizing Amtrak with the hope of garnering private financing for new bullet trains along the Northeast. California is seeking private funds as part of a planned route connecting Los Angeles and San Francisco.

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News Release | Food

Representative Jeff Flake Introduces REAPS Act

Statement of U.S. PIRG Federal Legislative Office Director Gary Kalman on the introduction of the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies Act.

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