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Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Big Banks, Big Complaints

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades. Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices, to educate consumers about these practices, and to regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them. 

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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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News Release | WashPIRG | Democracy

Distorted Democracy: Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections

A new analysis of pre-election data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources by WashPIRG and Demos shows that outside spending in the first presidential election since Citizens United is living up to its hype: new waves of “outside spending” have been fueled by dark money and unlimited fundraising from a small number of wealthy donors.

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Media Hit

Young Voters Are Hurt by Outdated Registration Techniques, Not a Mystical "Enthusiasm Gap"

"This year, the Washington Bus joined forces with the Washington Student Association and Wash PIRG to run a giant, united young voter registration drive. All told, the Youth Vote Coalition registered the whopping sum of 14,357 young voters...This is a truly amazing number, and it was only possible because of the interest, energy and—yes—enthusiasm of young people in Washington State."

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Media Hit

Congress needs to overhaul Farm Bill to cut out Big Ag's pork

"Most Washington farmers see little of these subsidies, yet Washington taxpayers are still forced to contribute to these handouts regardless of our troublesome state budget deficit."

Read more here: http://www.thenewstribune.com/2012/09/20/2303093/congress-needs-to-overh...

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Media Hit

Amend Terrible Farm Bill

"Farm bills, like Christmas trees, are often ornamented with so much tinsel it's hard to discern how exactly they hang together. Decorate an essential Department of Agriculture program (think Food Stamps) with billions in subsidies for major agribusinesses, and lawmakers are hit with a political gotcha: No rural development or food assistance without sugaring major corporations that then pocket (and profit) from taxpayer dinero."

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News Release | WashPIRG Education Fund | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 21 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, enough to pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to WashPIRG’s new report, Apples to Twinkies 2012. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

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Report | Food

Apples to Twinkies

America is facing an obesity epidemic – one that’s hitting children especially hard. Childhood obesity rates have tripled over the last three decades, with one in five kids aged 6 to 11 now obese.

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Report | U.S. Public Interest Research Group and National Taxpayers Union | Budget

Toward Common Ground

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayers Union and WashPIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction measures. This report documents our findings.

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Report | WashPIRG | Financial Reform

Ten Reasons Why We Need the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now

This report outlines predatory financial practices that hurt consumers and helped collapse the economy, costing us eight million jobs, millions of foreclosed homes and trillions of dollars in lost home and retirement values. It explains these and other emerging problems as “10 Reasons We Need The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Now.”

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Report | WashPIRG | Budget

Tax Shell Game

Tax havens are countries with minimal or no taxes, to which U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals transfer their earnings to avoid paying taxes in the United States. Users of tax havens benefit from access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security, but pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system.

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Big Banks, Bigger Fees

Since Congress largely deregulated consumer deposit (checking and savings) accounts beginning in the early 1980s, the PIRGs have tracked bank deposit account fee changes and documented the banks’ long-term strategy to raise fees, invent new fees and make it harder to avoid fees. 

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the FDA to put an end to the worst practices.

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