Budget

News Release | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget, 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 PennPIRG’s new report, Apples to Twinkies 2012. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Food

Apples to Twinkies 2012

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. 

Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2012

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 - who receives state money, how much, and for what purposes. Most of these websites are also searchable, making it easier for residents to follow the money and monitor government spending of many sorts. Today almost every state operates a transparency website with the stateís checkbook accessible to the public. 

News Release | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget

PA Receives a “B-” on Government Transparency

Philadelphia, PA March 14 – Pennsylvania 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 Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group (PennPIRG).  

Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead

Before pursuing a camera system contract, local governments should heed the advice of the Federal Highway Administration and first investigate traffic engineering solutions for problem intersections or roadways. If officials decide that private enforcement systems are appropriate, they should avoid deals that constrain future decisions related to protecting safety. Privatized traffic law enforcement should be used solely as a tool for enhancing traffic safety, not as a cash cow for municipalities or private firms.

News Release | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Transportation

New Report Outlines Problems with Red-Light and Speed Cameras

(Philadelphia, PA) – A new research report released today outlines problems with the growing trend among cities to outsource traffic enforcement to red-light and speed camera vendors.

Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Report ranks PA bridges worst in country

(Philadelphia) -- A recent report ranks Pennsylvania number one in the nation for its number of structurally deficient bridges. The Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group published the study saying more than 26 percent of the state's bridges are rated structurally deficient. Group associate Alana Miller says the state should focus on fixing existing bridges, rather than building new ones.

Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Keeping turnpike helps

One benefit of publicly held capacity is that it can be redeployed to other public needs in case of emergencies like extreme weather events. If the Pennsylvania Turnpike had been privatized last year, the private operator wouldn't likely have sacrificed their shareholders' interests by lending critical machinery and crews to help municipalities after the storm (Cheers & Jeers: Flood woes; Sept. 17).

Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Budget, Transportation

Fixing It First

America’s infrastructure is showing its age. Our nation’s roads, highways and bridges have increasingly received failing scores on maintenance and upkeep. For the nation’s bridges, lack of maintenance can result in the sudden closure of a critical transportation link or, far worse, a collapse that results in lost lives and a significant loss in regional economic productivity.

New Survey Shows Banks Still Hiding Fees from Consumers

PHILADELPHIA, April 12 – A survey released today by the Pennsylvania Public Interest Research Group of more than 350 bank branches revealed that fewer than half of branches obeyed their legal duty to fully disclose fees to prospective customers, while one in four provided no fee information at all.

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