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 | ConnPIRG | Budget, Tax

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2015

Every year, state governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are spent as well as possible.

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Public Health, Food

McDonald’s announces plan to cut overuse of antibiotics in chicken

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Public Health, Food

New Poll Reveals Overwhelming Majority of Doctors Concerned About Antibiotics Use on Healthy Food Animals

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Report | ConnPIRG, Consumers Union | Public Health, Food

Prescription for Change

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Media Hit | Budget

Malloy orders data dump

Abe Scarr, director of ConnPIRG (Public Information Research Group) Education Fund, a non-profit that advocates for greater public information, said the initiative would help Connecticut rejoin the ranks of America’s most governmentally transparent states.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

ConnPIRG Statement on Governor Malloy's New Data Transparency Executive Order

Governor Malloy announced today that he has signed an executive order to collect and make available online raw government data.

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Budget

NEW FARM BILL CONTAINS MASSIVE TAXPAYER HANDOUTS TO BIG AG

ConnPIRG urges 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.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Food

Food Safety Scares 2013: 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 Connecticut lives at risk and cost the country $22 million in economic costs, according to a new report by the ConnPIRG Education Fund.

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News Release | ConnPIRG | Budget

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Connecticut Taxpayer $1,965 a Year, Connecticut Small Business $5,989

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Report | ConnPIRG | Budget

Picking Up the Tab 2013

Some U.S.-based multinational firms and individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by using accounting tricks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes. They benefit from their access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security; but they pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2013

Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts with private entities for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, grants, and other forms of spending. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that state funds are well spent.

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Food

Apples to Twinkies 2012

At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic, crushing debt and a weak economy, billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients. In this report, we find that in 2011, over $1.28 billion in taxpayer subsidies went to junk food ingredients, bringing the total to a staggering $18.2 billion since 1995. To put that figure in perspective, $18.2 billion is enough to buy 2.9 billion Twinkies every year - 21 for every single American taxpayer.

 

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending promotes fiscal responsibility, checks corruption, and bolsters public confidence. In the past few years, state governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals.  These government-operated websites allow visitors to view the government's checkbook to see who receives state money, how much, and for what purposes.

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