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Report | TexPIRG | Tax

Picking Up the Tab 2014

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes—in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law—all supported in one way or another by tax dollars—but they avoid paying for these benefits.

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Report | TexPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

The Unfriendly Skies

It seems as if every consumer has an airline problem story—how they were trapped on the tarmac, tricked by fees, missed their connection, or lost their bag. What many consumers don’t know is that they have a number of new rights as well as a right to complain, both to the airline and to the government. This report tracks five years of consumer complaints and highlights which airlines received the most complaints and what kinds of complaints were most common.

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News Release | TexPIRG Education Fund

New Report: Texas Receives an “A-” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

AUSTIN — Texas received an A- 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 TexPIRG Education Fund.

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Report | TexPIRG Education Fund | Tax

Following the Money 2014

This report, TexPIRG Education Fund’s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites, finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. Over the past year, new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information.

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News Release | TexPIRG | 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. U.S. PIRG 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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Media Hit | Health Care

Dallas Morning News: Texas receives 'incomplete' on health insurance exchange report card

Texas is among 24 states, including neighbors Arkansas, Oklahoma and New Mexico, that got an "incomplete" in a scorecard on health insurance exchanges that was released Tuesday by a consumer group's research arm.

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News Release | TexPIRG | Health Care

Nationwide Study of New Health Exchanges Shows Texas How to Lower Costs for Consumers

Many states are creating health exchanges to deliver better value for consumers, and Texas should follow their lead, according to Making the Grade, a new report by the Texas Public Interest Research Group (TexPIRG).  Health exchanges are competitive marketplaces that can empower individuals and small businesses with better, more affordable options for coverage.  Under the federal health reform law, each state will have an exchange up and running in 2014.

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News Release | TexPIRG | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 19 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only a Quarter of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are also subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 19 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to Apples to Twinkies, a new report by TexPIRG.   Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy less than a quarter of an apple per taxpayer.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Dallas Morning News: New law changing health care, costs for many Texans

 

While state GOP leaders rail against it, the federal health insurance law signed by President Barack Obama last year is increasingly changing care and costs for many Texans. Since Jan. 1, as a result of the law, tens of thousands of retirees and disabled people on Medicare have received free preventive care — and partial relief from a “doughnut hole” that’s a big financial hit if they have high drug costs. Last year, nearly a quarter-million Texans received doughnut hole rebates of $250 per person.

 

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News Release | TexPIRG | Health Care

Decision Overturning Health Reform Would Increase Costs for Consumers

Relying on a flawed understanding of Supreme Court precedent, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals today struck down a key element of last year’s health reform law. Unfortunately, consumers and small businesses would face significantly higher insurance premiums if the Supreme Court upholds this ruling. 

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Report | TexPIRG | 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. These increases in obesity rates will translate into kids who are at greater risk for heart disease and diabetes, undermining the health of our country and driving up medical costs by hundreds of billions of dollars.

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Report | TexPIRG | Transportation

High-Speed Rail: Public Private or Both?

Private sector companies are likely to play a major role in the construction of high-speed rail lines in the United States. Public-private partnerships – or “PPPs” – have come to play an important role in the construction of high-speed rail lines around the world.

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Report | TexPIRG | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

Policy Brief #7: Designing a Consumer-Friendly Exchange: The exchange is a store where consumers can buy health insurance products – and anyone who’s worked retail knows that the consumer experience is critical.  For all the attention that must be paid to getting the behind-the-scenes aspects of the exchange to work, the front-end is just as important.

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Report | TexPIRG | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

Policy Brief #6: The Exchange and Public Programs: While the exchange represents a significant new opportunity for states to improve the quality and affordability of health insurance, it is only one piece of the larger health care landscape.  Public programs, including Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), will continue to play a significant role, and the way they interact with the exchange will be important to the success of both.

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Report | TexPIRG | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

Policy Brief #5: Driving Quality and Cost Improvements through the Exchange: A health care exchange that pools its enrollees’ bargaining power will help give consumers a better deal on their coverage, but it will need to do more to get the unsustainable rise in health care costs under control.

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