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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 | Financial Reform

New Consumer Agency Takes Over Thursday as Nation’s Consumer Bank Cop; Industry Mounts Opposition to Bureau and Any Nominated Director

Leading consumer groups today announced the results of a poll showing that an overwhelming majority of likely voters both support a new consumer agency (74%) and want Wall Street held “accountable” (77%), along with a report documenting “10 reasons” consumers need the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. 

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Media Hit | Budget

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: More details of state spending coming to website

Lost in the controversy over the state budget was a proposal to make the state disclose vast amounts of new information about how it spends taxpayers' money.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Food

Representative Jeff Flake Introduces REAPS Act

The introduction of the Reducing the Deficit through Eliminating Agriculture Direct Payment Subsidies Act, or REAPS Act (H.R. 2487) will cut $28 billion over ten years from agriculture subsidies. This is a first important step away from misguided spending that benefits a narrow set of special interests rather than any rational farm policy or the broader public interest.

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Media Hit | Safe Energy

Milwaukee Journal Sentinel: Green Group Sows Lesson in environmental conservation

Steve Heimerl never was one to take up a cause. In high school, he stayed away from student government, never joined a club or became involved in any other civic engagement. That is until the unlikely activist found his passion: the environment. Now the 20-year-old is part of a statewide energy conservation movement that is teaching thousands of Wisconsinites, from school-age children to senior citizens, that a healthy environment and a sustainable future are in everyone's best interest.

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Media Hit | Transportation

Biz Beat: Aging boomers need transit, report warns

Millions of aging baby boomers getting behind the wheel of a car is enough to frighten any demographer or traffic cop. But with funding for local transit service facing some $14 million in cuts in the proposed state budget, a new report warns that seniors may soon not have safe alternatives to get around.

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