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

Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2014

Every year, state governments spend tens 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 well spent. 

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Blog Post | Public Health, Food

Speaking Up on GMO Labeling

With more than 3,000 petitions, we're reaching out to Stop & Shop in other ways to let them know what their customers want: labeling GMOs in their store-brand products.

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Blog Post | Public Health, Food

Stop & Shop, label GMOs

A year ago, Whole Food’s committed to labeling GMOs by 2018.  But Whole Foods shouldn’t be the only store offering full GMO transparency.  That’s why we’re calling on Stop & Shop to label GMOs in their store brand products.

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Public Health, Food

A Year of Progress

While mandatory labeling has met with obstacles, legislation is not the only arena for progress – and the past year has shown that food producers and retailers are listening to consumers’ desire for information and choices when it comes to GMOs.

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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 | Budget

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

With Tax Day approaching, it’s a good time to be reminded of where our tax dollars are going. ConnPIRG released a new study today which revealed that the average Connecticut taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,965 in taxes – more per taxpayer than in any state in the country. - to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Connecticut Receives a “C+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Hartford, March 27 – Connecticut received a “C+” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the ConnPIRG Education Fund.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Offshore Tax Dodging Blows a $904 Million Hole in Connecticut Budget:

Hartford – With Connecticut in the midst of ongoing budget challenges, ConnPIRG, joined by Representatives Bryan Hulburt, Susan Johnson and Diana Urban, released a new study revealing that Connecticut lost $904 Million due to offshore tax dodging in 2012. Many of America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations, including Connecticut companies General Electric, Aetna, Hartford Financial Services, Travelers and United Technologies use tax loopholes to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 21 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only Half of an Apple Apiece

Federal subsidies for commodity crops are subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 21 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to ConnPIRG’s new report, Apples to Twinkies 2012. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

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News Release | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

New Report: Connecticut Receives a “B” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Connecticut received a “B” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the third annual report of its kind by the Connecticut Public Interest Research Group (ConnPIRG).

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Report | ConnPIRG Education Fund | Budget

The Hidden Cost of Offshore Tax Havens

 When U.S. corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens to avoid paying taxes to the federal government, it is an abuse of our tax system. Tax haven abusers benefit from our markets, infrastructure, educated workforce, and security, but they pay next to nothing for these benefits. Ultimately, taxpayers must pick up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increased national debt. 

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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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Report | 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.

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Report | U.S. Public Interest Research Group and National Taxpayers Union | Budget

Toward Common Ground

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayers Union and ConnPIRG joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction measures. This report documents our findings.

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