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Report | Demos and Maryland PIRG | Democracy

Billion Dollar Democracy

The first presidential election since Citizens United lived up to its hype, with unprecedented outside spending from new sources making headlines.
Dēmos and Maryland PIRG Foundation analysis of reports from campaigns, parties, and outside spenders to the Federal Election Commission found that our big money system distorts democracy and creates clear winners and losers.

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News Release | US PIRG | Tax

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

January 3 – A report released today spotlights a common practice where corporations that commit wrongdoing and agree to financial settlements with the federal government, go on to claim such settlement payments as tax-deductible business expenses. The new study, released by the Maryland Public Interest Research Group (Maryland PIRG), follows a record year of corporate settlements, while many more settlements relating to banking, environmental, and consumer safety issues are expected.

 

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Report | Tax

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

Corporations accused of wrongdoing commonly settle legal disputes with government regulators out of court. Doing so allows both the company and the government to avoid going to trial and the agency gets to appear as if it is teaching the company a lesson for its misdeeds. However, very often the corporations deduct the costs of the settlement on their taxes as an ordinary business expense, shifting a significant portion of the burden onto ordinary taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

First Step to Avoid the Fiscal Cliff: Close Offshore Tax Loopholes

With Congress scrambling to agree on ways to reduce the deficit, Maryland PIRG joined with MaryPIRG Students and a concerned College Park student  today to point out a clear first step to avoid the “fiscal cliff”: closing offshore tax loopholes. Many of America’s largest corporations and wealthiest individuals use accounting gimmicks to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes. This tax avoidance costs the federal government $150 billion in tax revenue each year.  Maryland PIRG released new data illustrating the size of this loss with 16 dramatic ways $150 billion could be spent.

 

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Report | Maryland PIRG | Tax

What America Could Do with $150 Billion Lost to Offshore Tax Havens

Many corporations and wealthy individuals use offshore tax havens—countries with minimal or no taxes—to avoid paying $150 billion in U.S. taxes each year. By shielding their income from U.S. taxes, corporations and wealthy individuals shift the tax burden to ordinary Americans, who must pick up the tab in the form of cuts to public services, more debt, or higher taxes. The $150 billion lost annually to offshore tax havens is a lot of money, especially at a time of difficult budget choices. To put this sum in perspective, we present 16 potential ways that income could be used.

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News Release | Budget

Maryland Earns “C” in New Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Maryland got a “C” when it comes to openness about government spending, according to FOLLOWING THE MONEY: How the 50  States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data” released on Tuesday.

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News Release | Safe Energy

BGE Behind on Energy Efficiency Goals

BGE will only meet 52% of its 2011 energy efficiency goal according to a new Maryland PIRG Foundation report, Utility Work Ahead: A First Look at Progress Toward Meeting EmPOWER Maryland Goals.

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News Release | Safe Energy

PEPCO Behind on Efficiency Goals

Pepco will only meet 71% of its 2011 energy efficiency goal according to a new Maryland PIRG Foundation report, Utility Work Ahead.

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News Release | Safe Energy

Committee Diverts Energy-Efficiency Funding

Budget conference committee members of the Maryland General Assembly agreed to strip funding for energy-efficiency in the state’s budget through 2012.  Instead, the money is being allocated to the state's direct bill pay assistance program to help low-income homes pay their utility bills.

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News Release | Health Care

President Signs Historic Health Care Law

The passage of health reform today is a huge step forward for the country. It happened because 219 members of the House of Representatives stood up to the powerful health insurance industry lobby.

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