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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Tax

Settling for a Lack of Accountability?

When large companies harm the public through fraud, financial scams, chemical spills, dangerous products or other misdeeds, they almost never just pay a fine or penalty, as ordinary people would. Instead, these companies negotiate out-of-court settlements that resolve the charges in return for stipulated payments or promised remedies. These agreements, made on behalf of the American people, are not subject to any transparency standards and companies often write them off as tax deductions claimed as necessary and ordinary costs of doing business.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Not-so-secret-Santas in Congress Using Spending Bill To Roll Back Health, Safety, Wallet Protections | Ed Mierzwinski

With spending authorization for the federal government set to end on December 11, Congressional leaders are working with powerful special interests on their not-so-Secret-Santa lists to use spending bills as vehicles to gut health, safety and wallet protections popular with the general public but not with Wall Street or the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. They know they cannot win a fair fight. So they’re loading up the must-pass funding bill with so-called “riders,” which are unrelated policies that couldn’t get passed on their own. Everything we fought for in Wall Street reform, including the CFPB, is on the chopping block. So are many other PIRG health, safety, wallet and democracy priorities.

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Blog Post | Transportation

Transportation policy is health policy | Sean Doyle

While transportation is often just thought of as how we get from point A to point B, the way we choose to do so can have important consequences on our physical health, air quality, safety, the development of our cities, and how we interact within them.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

30 Years of "Trouble in Toyland," 30 Years of Safety Improvements | Anna Low-Beer

Every year, U.S. PIRG Education Fund releases Trouble in Toyland, a report on toy safety which examines toys bought at major national retailers, looking for safety hazards including toxic toys, choking hazards, labeling violations, powerful magnets, and excessibely loud toys. We continue to find these hazards on store shelves, which indicates the need for continued vigilance and adequate enforcement of safety regulations. But despite lingering dangers, in the last 30 years, we've come a long way in terms of both policy and compliance with standards.

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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Public Health

Medical Professionals Call for Action to Save Antibiotics

Nearly six hundred medical and health care professionals from across the nation are calling on major restaurant chains to set strong antibiotics policies that protect public health.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Consumer Protection

Legislature, Governor Must Step up to the Plate for Consumers

 Despite a 30-year track record of going to bat for consumers and saving Coloradans $1.7 billion, Colorado’s Consumer Advocate is in danger of being permanently benched if the Colorado General Assembly and Governor do not step up to the plate and reauthorize it. With just ten days left before the Legislature adjourns, CoPIRG launched a late inning push to get the Legislature and Governor to go to bat for Colorado’s consumer MVP so it can continue to fight for consumers on electric, gas and telecommunication utility issues in the upcoming years.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Consumer Protection

Legislature, Governor Must Step up to the Plate for Consumers?

 Despite a 30-year track record of going to bat for consumers and saving Coloradans $1.7 billion, Colorado’s Consumer Advocate is in danger of being permanently benched if the Colorado General Assembly and Governor do not step up to the plate and reauthorize it. With just ten days left before the Legislature adjourns, CoPIRG launched a late inning push to get the Legislature and Governor to go to bat for Colorado’s consumer MVP so it can continue to fight for consumers on electric, gas and telecommunication utility issues in the upcoming years.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

Key Committee Approves Bill to Close Offshore Tax Haven Loophole

The Colorado House Finance Committee approved a bill that would close a tax loophole that allows large multinational corporations to avoid paying their share in taxes. The bill, HB15-1346, sponsored by State Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Mike Foote, would close the so-called “water’s edge loophole” that some companies use to dodge their Colorado tax bill leaving average Colorado families and small businesses to pick up the tab.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

Colorado Small Businesses Foot $3,165 Bill from Offshore Tax Dodging

As Tax Day approaches, the CoPIRG Foundation released a new study highlighting that small businesses end up picking up the tab for offshore tax loopholes used by many large multinational corporations. The study revealed that the average Colorado small business owner would have to pay an extra $3,165 in taxes to make up for the money lost in 2014 due to offshore tax haven abuse by large multinational corporations. State Representatives Brittany Pettersen and Mike Foote and other advocates joined CoPIRG to highlight a new bill that aims to close a loophole in Colorado that costs the state millions.  

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News Release | CoPIRG | Higher Ed

CoPIRG Applauds Representative Diana DeGette’s Leadership on Affordable Higher Education

"Student loan debt isn’t an 800 pound gorilla in Colorado. It’s an 800,000 pound gorilla with nearly 800,000 people in Colorado with student loan debt. Student loan debt is large, it’s growing and we applaud Representative DeGette for being a champion of policies that will tackle this issue," said Danny Katz, CoPIRG Director.

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Report | CoPIRG 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. 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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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

Private Loans, Public Complaints

This report is the second of several that will review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report we explore consumer complaints in the private student loan sector with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their student loans.

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Rebuilding for an Energy Efficient Future

The historic flooding across Colorado destroyed an estimated 1,882 homes and damaged another 26,000 more, leaving behind whole communities that need to be rebuilt.  As homeowners and small business owners begin to rebuild, they have a unique opportunity to reduce their future energy bills by investing in smart, energy-saving upgrades to the building’s external “envelope” and internal systems and appliances.

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Report | CoPIRG | Democracy

Pass or Fail

Nearly a year later and almost half-way through the term of the 113th Congress, it is past time for the Colorado delegation to act on Amendment 65 and move forward a constitutional amendment that allows for campaign spending limits. To measure which Congress members are taking their voters seriously and which ones are not, we graded them on whether they had taken a simple yet important step to follow the wishes of Colorado voters. Did they introduce or cosponsor a constitutional amendment that would fulfill the call to action of Amendment 65?

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Report | CoPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

Big Banks, Big Complaints

This report is the first of several that will review complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state basis. In this report we explore consumer complaints about bank accounts and services with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with their banks.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Meet the [antibiotic-free] Chef: Hosea Rosenberg, BlackBelly | Anya Vanecek

Recently, I sat down with Chef Hosea Rosenberg, owner of BlackBelly restaurant in Boulder, CO, to find out why antibiotic-free meat was as good for business as it is for public health.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

IRS Admits Data Breach Worse Than Thought, Will Congress Do Wrong Thing Anyway? | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the IRS has admitted that thieves accessed the personal information -- enough to allow them to take your tax refund -- of an additional 220,000 taxpayers, on top of the 114,000 reported in May. Meanwhile, we remain  concerned that Congress will use continued publicity about the Target breach and other breaches as an excuse to pass dangerous data security legislation. Dangerous? Yes, because it would only protect against limited financial identity theft harms, but eliminate stronger state protections against the harms posed by the IRS breach, the health insurance breaches and the OPM breach.

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

The More I Hear About OPM Data Breach, The Less I Know, Except This: It's Bad | Ed Mierzwinski

Was it 4 million, 14 million or 18 million records breached (how many times) (likely) by Chinese hackers? Whose fault was it? The USOPM director says no one's. Really? Perhaps the worst data breach ever raises lots of questions, but I haven't heard any good answers. Federal employees, their families, their friends and their neighbors -- because all of them could be victims -- deserve better answers, just as they deserve better service than USOPM's credit monitoring provider is giving them.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Hill Threats to CFPB Escalate As CFPB Protects Consumers, Servicemembers | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the House Appropriations Committee, at the behest of both Wall Street and predatory lenders seeking to run amok, will vote to eliminate the CFPB's independence from the politicized appropriations process. Meanwhile, over at the CFPB, important work to protect consumers, including servicemembers, from unfair and predatory financial practices continues.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Data Breach Here, Data Breach There, Data Breach Everywhere! | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED 10 June Re DHS Breach: If you shop with plastic, have health insurance, pay taxes, work for the federal government, or (fill in blank) you’re at risk of a data breach. And with so much information about you already available on the Internet, it’s best not to select easy-search security questions like “Where were you born?” or answers like “Pizza.” What’s your best defense against identity theft? No, it isn’t credit monitoring, it’s a security freeze.

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Priority Action

We're teaming up with big restaurant chains to stop the overuse of antibiotics on factory farms. Call on KFC to stop selling meat raised on routine antibiotics.

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