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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the WISPIRG Foundation finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes will likely keep driving down for decades, according to the report, “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future.”
 

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Report | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

The Rent-to-Own Rip-off

The 2013-2015 biennial executive budget, proposed by Governor Walker, includes an exemption for the rent-to-own industry from Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws. Rent-to-own businesses are appliance and furniture retailers that arrange “lease agreements,” rather than typical installment or credit sales contracts. These leases are regulated as a form of credit because the consumer is buying a product over time and paying a very high premium over the product’s sale price.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Astronomical Rent-to-Own Prices, Interest Rates

A new report found that five rent-to-own stores in Rockford, IL on average charged an annual percentage rate of 221% and displayed outright cash purchase prices as much as two to seven times the cost of the same or similar products at other major retailers. The legislature is currently debating a controversial proposal in the executive budget proposal to provide a special exemption from the Wisconsin Consumer Act for the rent to own industry and which would eliminate the requirement to disclose an APR for Rent-to-Own products sold in Wisconsin.
 

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Media Hit | Transportation

State needs to build better transportation budget

The state needs a better transportation budget.  . . . .  One promising idea is a proposal from 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, WISPIRG and the state chapter of the Sierra Club to cut 10% from highway spending. The money would be used "to reduce bonding by $200 million, increase local road reimbursements by $82 million, and increase transit funding $21 million (a 10% increase in local road reimbursement and transit funding)," according to a news release the group issued last week.
 

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Scott Walker's rent-to-own budget provision brings strong reaction

Rent-to-own stores would be able to sell customers high-cost financing plans for televisions, appliances and other goods without disclosing their interest rates, under a provision in Gov. Scott Walker's proposed state budget. In addition to exempting the industry from state consumer protection laws, the measure would cap how much wronged customers could get if they sued rent-to-own stores. The stores typically sell products under plans that cost buyers two or three times prices they would pay elsewhere, according to a report by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Democracy

AS SECRET MONEY POURS INTO WISCONSIN, NEW REPORT DETAILS LATEST NUMBERS ON OUTSIDE SPENDING FOR 2012 ELECTIONS

Outside spending on the Wisconsin senatorial race has already exceeded $4.5 million. With the presidential campaign heating up and Wisconsin named as a battleground state, more secret money is expected to flow into the state to influence the votes of Wisconsinites. Much about who funds these efforts and how this funding is spent remains a mystery, according to a report analyzing the latest campaign filings.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | 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 WISPIRG’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 | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Poll Shows Voters Favor Strong Oversight of Wall Street and Back New CFPB

Financial reforms enacted in response to the financial meltdown remain popular with those likely to vote in 2012, a new opinion poll by Lake Research Partners shows. The poll was commissioned by AARP, National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the Center for Responsible Lending (CRL) and Americans for Financial Reform (AFR). Saturday July 21 will mark the two year anniversary of the Dodd Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act, which created the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), a new agency with a strong record of successes for consumers despite facing constant unfounded political attacks in its first year of work.

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Media Hit | Health Care

Parts of Affordable Health Care Law Already in Effect

The U.S. Supreme Court will rule Thursday whether all or parts of the Affordable Health Care Act the Obama Administration designed are constitutional. Several facets of the act have already been enacted, according to Bruce Speight, director of WISPIRG - the Wisconsin Public Interest Group or WISPIRG. Listen here: http://www.wuwm.com/news/wuwm_news.php?articleid=10683. 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Democracy

Groups Call for Leg Hearings in Wake of Recall Elections

Twenty organizations have submitted a letter to state legislative leaders urging them to hold hearings this summer to give the public opportunities to provide them feedback on the recall elections we've had in Wisconsin and the need for improved transparency and accountability in all our elections, to set the stage for a special legislative session on reform later this year.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Financial Reform

Big Banks Bigger Fees

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Safe Energy

Unacceptable Risk

A new report released today by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group documents a history of safety problems at nuclear reactors in the United States. These incidents – like the crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant in Japan – illustrate that nuclear power carries with it risks that are simply not worth taking.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

Following the Money 2011

Wisconsin got a “D+” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to Following the Money 2011: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the second annual report of its kind by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG).  Included with the report is an interactive online tool that allows users to view what Wisconsin is doing best and worst compared to other states’ transparency practices.

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Report | WISPIRG | Health Care

Building a Better Health Care Marketplace

The opportunity to create a state exchange will allow Wisconsin to increase competition and improve choices in our insurance market. 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.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Health Care

The Cost of Repeal: Examining the Impact on Wisconsin of Repealing the New Federal Health Care Law

On March 23, 2010, after a long congressional debate, President Barack Obama signed into law comprehensive federal health care reform legislation, known as the Affordable Care Act or ACA. But the enactment of the law did not end the debate. Even the law’s strongest proponents acknowledge the need for improvements. And across the country, state legislators and Governors have been urged to slow or stop work on implementation of key provisions. The courts are considering legal challenges to the law.

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