Stop Subsidizing Obesity

OUR TAX DOLLARS HELP FUEL OBESITY EPIDEMIC—Since 1995, $18 billion has been given away in subsidies to Big Agribusinesses, this money gets used to produce common junk food ingredients, like high-fructose corn syrup. These giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when one-in-three kids is overweight or obese.

PUT JUNK FOOD SUBSIDIES ON A DIET

Almost anything you can think of would be a better use of our tax dollars than subsidizing the ingredients in junk food, but every year more than a billion taxpayer dollars do just that. Huge, profitable corporations, like Cargill and Monsanto, have pocketed $18 billion in the last 16 years and turned subsidized crops into junk food ingredients — including high fructose corn syrup.

These taxpayer giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when one-in-three kids is overweight or obese, and obesity-related diseases like diabetes are turning into an epidemic.

Many of these wasteful subsidies are set to expire this year, but industry lobbyists are urging Congress to keep them. In 2008 alone, big agribusinesses spent $200 million on lobbying and campaign contributions.

No one in Congress wants to be seen standing up for taxpayer giveaways to junk food. Cutting wasteful spending while attacking childhood obesity could be the perfect storm we need to push past the junk food industry.

Obesity Quick Facts:

  • High-fructose diets impair learning and memory.
  • For each additional can of soda drunk daily, the odds of a child becoming obese increases by about 60%.
  • Childhood obesity has quadrupled in the last 40 years.
  • Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.
  • Once an adult problem, diabetes associated with obesity is increasing among children.

Issue updates

News Release | WashPIRG | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Washington Taxpayer $1,172 a Year, Washington Small Business $4,166

SEATTLE – As hardworking Americans breathe a sigh of relief getting their taxes in, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for the loopholes in our tax laws. WashPIRG was joined today by Gerald Hankerson, Director of Washington’s Main Street Alliance, and Theo Martin, owner of Island Soul Restaurant, to release a new study which revealed that the average Washington taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,172 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. 

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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. 

> Keep Reading
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.  

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | WashPIRG | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Washington Taxpayer $1,172 a Year, Washington Small Business $4,166

SEATTLE – As hardworking Americans breathe a sigh of relief getting their taxes in, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for the loopholes in our tax laws. WashPIRG was joined today by Gerald Hankerson, Director of Washington’s Main Street Alliance, and Theo Martin, owner of Island Soul Restaurant, to release a new study which revealed that the average Washington taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,172 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. 

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
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.  

> Keep Reading
News Release | WashPIRG | Budget, Public Health, Food

New Farm Bill Contains Massive Taxpayer Handouts to Big Ag

WashPIRG urges the Washington Delegation to Congress to vote NO on the Farm Bill. At a time of supposed fiscal caution, this bill would put taxpayers on the hook for another five years of billion-dollar handouts to huge, profitable agribusinesses. Even the most modest reforms to trim subsidies for the largest players were stripped out or watered down at the last second by the chairs of the House and Senate Agricultural Committees.

> Keep Reading
News Release | WashPIRG Foundation | Public Health, Food

How FDA Delays are Putting American Lives at Risk from Unsafe Food

Food and Drug Administration (FDA) delays in implementing the 2011 Food Safety Modernization Act have put STATE lives at risk and cost the country $22 million in economic costs, according to a new report by WashPIRG Foundation. Here in Washington in the last 12 months, 75 people were made sick from foodborne illnesses from recalled products and the cost in Washington was $821,730. Contaminated food makes 48 million Americans sick every year.

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Pages

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. 

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
Report | WashPIRG Foundation | Food

Food Safety Scares 2013

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off store shelves. These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness. The simple answer is 'no', and cases across the country and here in Washington have shot up.

> Keep Reading
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.

> Keep Reading
Report | WashPIRG | Consumer Protection, Food

Total Food Recall

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off store shelves. These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness. And they are right to do so—48 million people get sick from eating tainted food each year, and despite significant costs to our economy and Americans’ public health, the number of such illnesses, particularly from Salmonella, has remained stagnant for at least 5 years.

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Pages

Blog Post | Budget

Problems With Privatized Law Enforcement's New Frontier | Phineas Baxandall

One in five Americans lives in a jurisdiction that outsources traffic ticketing this way, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, titled "Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public." And a report released by the Justice Department suggests this trend may accelerate under the twin pressures of budget pressure and intense lobbying.

> Keep Reading
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You Can Help

We have a chance to cut billions in junk food subsidies this year. Your support will help us do the research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to convince our elected officials to act.

PRIORITY ACTION

Each year, our tax dollars pay for enough junk food additives to buy 8.5 two-liter bottles of soda for each person under 18. Help stop the subsidies for junk food.

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