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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

New Report: Washington Receives a “B” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

SEATTLE – Washington State received a “B” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the Washington State Public Interest Research Group Foundation and U.S.PIRG Education Fund.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Budget, Financial Reform, Tax

Following the Money

Washington State received a “B” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the Washington State Public Interest Research Group Foundation. 

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News Release | WashPIRG | Democracy

Today Supreme Court Ruled for Another Flood of Big Money

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McCutcheon v. FEC to strike down overall, or aggregate, contribution limits to candidates and political committees. WashPIRG research found that this ruling could bring $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from fewer than 2,800 elite donors through the 2020 election cycle.

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News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Food

Seattle Consumers Call on Safeway to Label GMOs

Consumers and health advocates launched a campaign calling on Safeway, and its new corporate parent Albertsons, to label its store-brand products for ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the one year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement that it will adopt labeling for all products in its stores.  

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Food

A Year of Progress

As of 2013, 90% of the corn and 93% of the soy grown in the U.S. are GMO varieties, and by the mid-2000s, 87% of the domestic canola crop was genetically modified. Despite USDA and FDA regulations leaving consumers in the dark, many companies have been responding independantly to the overwhelming consumer support for GMO labeling.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Health Care

Twenty Top Generic Drug Delayed by Industry Payoffs

Washingtonians 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, according to a report released today by Washington State Public Interest Research Group (Washington) and Community Catalyst. 

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News Release | WashPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 104,863 Student Loan Borrowers in Washington Double

Due to Congressional inaction, the interest rates on federally subsidized student loans doubled on July 1 from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. The change will affect 104,863 students in Washington, and in total the rate increase will hike the cost of Washington students’ loans by $96.4 million. That translates into a $919 increase in debt per student, per loan.  However, because most new student loans are issued in August and September, Congress can still pass a retroactive fix.  

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News Release | WashPIRG | Health Care

Big Pharma's Pay-for-Delay Deals Take a Hit

Big Pharma’s controversial “pay-for-delay” agreements took a hit today. In FTC v. Actavis, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that the FTC’s case against AndroGel's anti-competitive practices can move ahead in the lower courts. 

AndroGel offered payments to generic firms for not bringing their products to market. The court chose not to declare all such payoffs unlawful, spurring consumer advocates to call on Congress to finish the job. 

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News Release | WashPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 104,863 Student Loan Borrowers in Washington Set to Double on July 1

Unless Congress acts, on July 1, the interest rate for 104,863 student loan borrowers in Washington will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. According to an issue brief released today by WashPIRG, the rate increase would hike the cost of Washington students’ loans by $96.4 million. That translates into a $919 increase in debt per student, per loan.

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News Release | WashPIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Washington Taxpayer $1,091 a Year, Washington Small Business $3,616

With Tax Day approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. WashPIRG released a new study which reveals that the average Washington taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,091 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. 

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Too Close to Home

The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, which took place in March 2011, delivered a reminder to the world that nuclear power comes with inherent risks. Over a period of several days, three Japanese nuclear reactors suffered meltdowns. A large amount of radioactive material escaped into the environment over the ensuing months.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | 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.

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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Budget

Transparency in City Spending

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending checks corruption, bolsters public confidence, improves responsiveness, and promotes greater effectiveness and fiscal responsibility.

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Report | WashPIRG | Democracy

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

BP’s recent $4.5 billion legal settlement with the Justice Department for its misdeeds in the Gulf oil spill was historic for being the largest ever criminal settlement.  But it was historic for another reason as well—none of it is allowed to be tax deductible.  Unfortunately, too many settlements for wrongdoing end up as tax deductions.

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Report | WashPIRG | Tax

What America Could Do with $150 Billion Lost to Offshore Tax Havens

Many corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes—to avoid paying $150 billion in U.S. taxes each year.

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