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Voters Reject Big Money in Politics, Now It’s Time for Reform

Voters sent a message last Tuesday, showing resounding support for our leaders to take steps to deal with the outsized influence of big money in our elections, including a resolution passed in Eau Claire County, WI endorsing a Constitutional Amendment to overturn Citizens United.

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Report | WISPIRG and Demos | Democracy

Distorted Democracy: Post-Election Spending Analysis

New analysis of Federal Election Commission data through Election Day shows that just a few big outside spenders drowned out small donors in the 2012 election cycle. The Supreme Court's Citizens United allows wealthy special interests to amplify their voices far above the average citizen. This will continue the cycle of major donors receiving the greatest political access and setting the agenda for our government in Washington and in Madison, interfering with our government's ability to function in the best interests of the public at-large.

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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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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Budget

Leaving Taxpayers in the Dark

Despite legislative efforts at improvement since 2007, Wisconsin’s economic development subsidies lack transparency and accountability. According to the most recent data on the state website, over $414 million in business subsidies were dispensed in calendar years 2009 and 2010: a mixture of grants, loans, tax credits, and revenue bonds. But very little information is available about the goals of these subsidy programs, the outcomes at companies who receive them, or the benefit to the Wisconsin taxpayers who pay for them.

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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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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

New Report: Without Reform, Health Costs Will Double

Without action from Congress, premiums and deductibles for residents of Wisconsin with employer provided insurance will nearly double by 2016, according to a new report released today by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group (WISPIRG).

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

House Acts To Create Jobs, Put Nation On Path To Economic Stability

WISPIRG lauds today’s passage of H.R. 1, the American Economic Recovery and Reinvestment Act by the United States House of Representatives.  According to Gary Kalman, the director of WISPIRG’s Federal Legislative Office, “This legislation will spark immediate economic growth and lay the foundation for continued prosperity in a quickly changing global economy.”

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

New Study: Both Good Signs and Red Flags in State’s Transportation Stimulus Wish List

A new study of the Wisconsin Department of Transportation (DOT) wish list, recently submitted to Congress for funding under a new economic recovery package, suggests that Wisconsin’s current project list both prioritizes projects that can help Wisconsin to address our biggest transportation problems, but also undermines efforts to repair and modernize our deteriorating infrastructure and reduce U.S. dependence on oil.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

Doyle Stimulus Proposal Would Move Some Key Projects for 21st Century Transportation, “Getting Wisconsin Back on Track”

Governor Doyle’s economic stimulus proposal to President-Elect Obama, which was released today, includes important 21st  century transportation projects for Wisconsin, including high speed intercity rail connecting Wisconsin’s major metropolitan areas, commuter rail in southeastern Wisconsin and Dane County, funding for transit agencies statewide, and funding for road and bridge repair and maintenance.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Transportation

High Speed Rail on the Horizon

A nationwide network of high speed bullet trains could soon be a reality thanks to bipartisan legislation introduced today by Senators Kerry (D-MA), Specter (R-PA) and at least a dozen other senators from both parties. The legislation provides two necessary components for such a system: dedicated funding and federal coordination.  The legislation includes financing for federally-designated rail corridors, one of which is the Chicago hub corridor -- a main segment of the Chicago corridor would run from Chicago to Minneapolis by way of Milwaukee and Madison. Senator Kohl (WI) is supportive of high-speed rail but was not a co-sponsor of this bill.

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