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News Release | ConnPIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Connecticut Taxpayer $2,537 a Year, Connecticut Small Business $8,094

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for the loopholes in our tax laws.  Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals avoid paying an estimated $184 billion in state and federal income taxes by shift their profits to offshore tax havens. 

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Report | ConnPIRG | 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 to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions. Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law but they avoid paying for these benefits leaving ordinary taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB to Bank of America: Pay Back Consumers $727 Million | Evan Preston

This week the CFPB ordered Bank of America to return $727 million to credit card customers for deceptive marketing and unfair billing practices.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Spirit Is Most Complained-About Airline

Spirit Airlines passengers are most likely to complain about their experience, according to a report released today by the ConnPIRG Education Fund. Among major airlines, Spirit generates the most complaints for its size and generates an increasing number of complaints each year. Other most-complained about firms include Frontier Airlines, United Airlines, and American Airlines.

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

The Unfriendly Skies

Consolidation in the airline industry, along with pressures created by new security rules and the recent high cost of aviation gasoline, has changed the way we fly. It seems as if every consumer has an airline travel story—how they were trapped on the tarmac, tricked by fees, missed their connection, or lost their bag.

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 73,051 Student Loan Borrowers in Connecticut 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 73,051 students in Connecticut, and in total the rate increase will hike the cost of Connecticut students’ loans by $68.4 million. That translates into a $937 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 | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Solid Waste

Connecticut Recycling Leaders Call for Increased Effort to Get to Zero Waste

After a year that saw the passage of a first in the nation Mattress Recycling Law, the creation of a Recycling Market Development Council, and expanded requirements for diverting organic material from our waste stream, leaders from Connecticut’s recycling community gathered in Hartford to celebrate Connecticut’s progress and call on local and state decision-makers to set even higher goals to achieve zero waste.  Environment Committee Co-Chair Senator Ed Meyer, Middletown Mayor Daniel Drew, and other recycling leaders joined the ConnPIRG Education Fund to release their new Report: “The Zero Waste Solution, How 21st Century Recycling and Trash Reduction can Protect Public Health and Boost Connecticut’s Economy.”

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News Release | ConnPIRG | 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 the payoff keeping generic AndroGel from the market can move ahead in the lower courts.

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for 73,051 Student Loan Borrowers in Connecticut Set to Double on July 1

Unless Congress acts, on July 1, the interest rate for 73,051 student loan borrowers in Connecticut  will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. According to an issue brief released today by ConnPIRG, the rate increase would hike the cost of Connecticut students’ loans by $68.4 million. That translates into a $937 increase in debt per student, per loan.

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Public Health

New Report Documents a Decade of Safety Violations by Compounding Pharmacies

The contaminated drug that caused last fall’s fungal meningitis outbreak and killed 55 people is just the tip of the iceberg of an industry-wide problem, according to a new report released today by ConnPIRG. The meningitis outbreak was simply the latest and deadliest in a long line of errors and risky practices by compounding pharmacies.

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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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Report | U.S. PIRG | Safe Energy

Unacceptable Risk: Two Decades of “Close Calls,” Leaks and Other Problems at U.S. Nuclear Reactors

American nuclear power plants are not immune to the types of natural disasters, mechanical failures, human errors, and losses of critical electric power supplies that have characterized major nuclear accidents such as the one at Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan. Indeed, at several points over the last 20 years, American nuclear power plants have experienced “close calls” that could have led to damage to the reactor core and the subsequent release of large amounts of radiation.

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Report | Democracy

Following the Money: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data

State governments across the country have been moving toward making their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals – government-operated websites that allow visitors to see who receives state money and for what purposes. Forty states provide transparency websites that allow residents to access databases of government expenditures with “checkbook-level” detail. Most of these websites are also searchable, making it easier for residents to follow the money and monitor government spending.

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Report | Health Care

Policy Brief #2 - Negotiating for a Better Deal

A well-made state exchange can help deliver lower costs for individuals and small businesses. Just as big businesses negotiate with insurers, using the bargaining power of their employees to push for lower premiums, so too can exchange enrollees benefit from a muscular exchange that negotiates on their behalf for better choices and lower costs.

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Report | Health Care

Policy Brief #1 - Ensuring Accountability

The opportunity to create an exchange will allow the states to increase competition and improve choices in their insurance markets. However, to fully realize this opportunity, the exchange must be accountable to the public, and the individual and small business consumers who will buy their coverage through it.

The best way for the states to realize these goals is to make decisions about the exchange’s structure and governance to ensure that this important new entity is transparent in its operations, and fundamentally accountable to the public interest.

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening these lifesaving medicines. Call on big restaurants to do their part and stop buying meat raised with critical antibiotics.

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