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News Release | WISPIRG | Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 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, at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year, according to WISPIRG’s new report, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.” Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.
 

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Media Hit | Health Care

Using 'Pay for Delay,' Big Pharma Pockets $98 Billion

What if I told you that major pharmaceutical companies had paid off their competition to delay the release of lower-cost generic drugs for 20 major pharmaceuticals? And that combined, brand name drug companies made an estimated $98 billion in total sales of these 20 drugs while the generic versions were delayed? Unfortunately, it’s true, and it means that too many sick Wisconsinites either can’t afford the prescription medication they need, or are paying 10 times too much.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Democracy

Money OUT, Voters IN Wisconsin stands with legislative leaders against Citizens United

The Money OUT, Voters IN Wisconsin coalition, comprised of 32 organizations committed to combating the influence of big special interest money in elections, joined State Representative Chris Taylor (D-Madison) today in Madison to announce the introduction of a resolution (LRB 1457/5) to place a referendum on the November, 2014, statewide ballot allowing the voters of Wisconsin to be heard on the issue of Citizens United. State Senator Dave Hansen (D-Green Bay) will introduce the resolution in the State Senate.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Democracy

WISPIRG Statement on Introduction of Wisconsin Citizens United Resolution

The first post-Citizens United major election in November 2012 confirmed our fears that the new campaign finance system allows well-heeled special interests and secret spenders to drown out the voices of ordinary citizens.  The people of Wisconsin deserve to have our say in whether this is the democracy we want. 
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Higher Ed

Student Loan Interest Rate Deal Will Make Things Worse

This deal locks in $184 billion of revenue from the federal loan program over the next ten years, in the form of high interest and fees that adds to student debt and makes education more expensive.  Then, it goes further by generating an additional $715 million in revenue off the backs of borrowers, to be steered toward deficit reduction. 
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Tax

This Time, BP Settlement Protects Taxpayers

Unlike earlier settlements from the Gulf Oil spill, the settlement the U.S. Justice Department negotiated with BP stipulated that none of the penalties paid are tax-deductible, according to Lanny Breuer, head of the Dept. of Justice's criminal division.

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Free checking still widely available, report says; some banks mum on fee info

Free checking can still be found at financial institutions in Wisconsin and nationwide, but consumers are more likely to see it at smaller banks and at credit unions than at some of the biggest banks, according to a survey by Public Interest Research Groups around the country.
Free checking can still be found at financial institutions in Wisconsin and nationwide, but consumers are more likely to see it at smaller banks and at credit unions than at some of the biggest banks, according to a survey by Public Interest Research Groupsaround the country. 

Read more: http://host.madison.com/business/free-checking-still-widely-available-report-says-some-banks-mum/article_a45e708c-2f79-11e2-8638-001a4bcf887a.html#ixzz2CVvvHGyc

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

New Survey Shows Free Checking Widely Available At Small Banks

A survey of 26 Wisconsin banks and credit unions and hundreds of banks and credit unions in 24 states and the District of Columbia found that free checking remains available at more than 6 out of 10 small banks and credit unions but was only found at one-quarter of surveyed big banks (those with over $10 billion in deposits). The survey released by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) also revealed that fewer than half of branches surveyed obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers on the first request, while 12% provided no fee information at all.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Democracy

Distorted Democracy: Big Money and Dark Money in the 2012 Elections

Outside spending on the Wisconsin senatorial race is the third highest of any race in the nation, at over $30 million. Only the presidential race and the campaign for Virginia's senate seat have seen more outside money pouring in to influence voters. This new analysis of pre-election data from the Federal Election Commission and other sources shows that outside spending in the first presidential election cycle since Citizens United is living up to the hype. With no limits on campaign spending Super PACs and Dark Money groups have used massive donations from a small number of wealthy donors to flood our elections with at least $1.1 billion dollars in outside spending. This new data is an update to the Million Dollar Megaphones report released in September, with new data on the last two months of election spending.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

New Report: $8.2 Million in Economic Development Subsidies from 2009-2010 Have Unknown Outcomes

Wisconsin taxpayers have access to almost no information about the outcomes from the millions of dollars invested in economic development subsidies from the past four years, according to a new Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) Foundation report, Leaving Taxpayers in the Dark: The Urgent Need to Improve Transparency and Accountability in Wisconsin’s Economic Development Subsidy Programs. The report finds that online transparency has gotten worse despite promises from state leaders to enhance transparency and accountability in these programs.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Health Care

Making the Grade

States have an important opportunity to improve their health care marketplaces through the creation of an exchange. And the health reform law gives the states substantial leeway to define critical aspects of the exchange, including who is eligible to buy coverage through it, how aggressively it will set standards and negotiate with insurers, and who will run it. A weak exchange could wind up taking its cues from the insurance industry, not consumers, and do little to shift the fundamental problems in most states’ health care markets.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Food

Apples to Twinkies

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 WISPIRG.   Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy less than a quarter of an apple per taxpayer.

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Report | WISPIRG | Transportation

Fixing It First

With President Obama calling for robust investments in repairing America's crumbling roads and bridges today, WISPIRG released data today documenting the number of "structurally deficient" bridges in Wisconsin.

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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

Toward Common Ground

As the Congressional “Super Committee” begins its search for $1.5 trillion in deficit reduction, a new study released by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG) and the National Taxpayers Union (NTU) provides the panel with a great place to start: more than $1 trillion of spending cuts with appeal from across the political spectrum.

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Report | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Recipe for Disaster

According to this study, 54 recalls have occurred in Wisconsin due to contamination by Salmonella and other bacteria related to food borne illness in the last 14 months.

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the Food and Drug Administration to put an end to the worst practices.

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