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News Release | U.S. PIRG | Consumer Protection

PIRGs, Others Ask CFPB & FTC To Investigate Experian/T-Mobile Data Breach

In a letter sent today, a number of state PIRGs and other leading privacy and consumer groups urged the CFPB and FTC to fully investigate the recent breach of an Experian subsidary that exposed 15 million T-Mobile customer and applicant records to the threat of new account identity theft. The letter asked whether the regulators could require Experian and the other two nationwide credit bureaus -- TransUnion and Equifax -- to give victims free security freezes to protect their credit reports.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As CFPB Advances Consumer Protection, Attacks on CFPB Escalate | Ed Mierzwinski

This week, the CFPB took a major step toward establishing a regulation restricting the use of forced arbitration clauses in consumer financial contracts, which give companies what the CFPB's director said was a "free pass from being held accountable by their customers." Meanwhile, on Capitol Hill, powerful bank interests escalated their campaign to defund and defang the bureau, because it works for consumers, not them.

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Blog Post | Public Health

Big Win: Montgomery County votes to restrict the cosmetic use of toxic lawn pesticides, protecting public health and our environment. | Emily Scarr

The Montgomery County Council just voted to restrict the cosmetic use of toxic lawn pesticides, protecting public health and our environment.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Tax

Deepwater Horizon Settlement Comes with Estimated $5.35 Billion Tax Windfall

Today’s announcement by the U.S. Department of Justice of a proposed $20.8 billion out-of-court settlement with BP to resolve charges related to the Gulf Oil spill allows the corporation to write off $15.3 billion of the total payment as an ordinary cost of doing business tax deduction. This proposed settlement would allow BP to claim an estimated $5.35 billion as a tax windfall, significantly decreasing the public value of the agreement, and nearly offsetting the cost of the non-deductible penalty.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Why is Experian/T-Mobile Giving 15 Million Experian Breach Victims Credit Monitoring, Since Only the Credit Freeze Stops Identity Theft | Emily Scarr

How can all of the 200 million consumers with Experian credit reports trust that Experian is really protecting them?

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Democracy

“A Huge Step Forward for Voter Participation”

The House of Delegates today gave final approval to SB 279, which would expand early voting and allow same day voter registration at early voting centers.  If the Senate concurs with the House amendments the bill will move to the Governor’s desk for his signature.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Consumer Protection

Flame Retardant Ban Passes Maryland General Assembly

The Maryland Senate yesterday passed HB 99, which bans child care products for children under 3 containing the flame-retardant chemical TCEP. The chemical is one of several flame-retardants highly criticized by health advocates for their toxic effects in laboratory studies and persistence in the household environment. The bill is sponsored by Delegate James Hubbard from Prince Georges County. House bill 99 has now passed both chambers of the Maryland General Assembly and is on its way to Governor O’Malley’s desk.

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Budget

New Report: Maryland Receives a “C” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Maryland received a “C” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2013: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fourth annual report of its kind by the Maryland PIRG Foundation. 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Tax

Offshore Tax Dodging Blows $966 Million Hole in Maryland Budget: New Maryland PIRG Study Exposes the Real Cost of Tax Loopholes for Maryland Residents

With Maryland facing tough budget choices, especially with regards to transportation, Maryland PIRG released a new study revealing that Maryland lost $966 million due to offshore tax dodging in 2012. Many of America’s wealthiest individuals and largest corporations, use tax loopholes to shift profits made in America to offshore tax havens, where they pay little to no taxes.

 

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News Release | Maryland PIRG | Budget

Baltimore Receives a Grade of “B+” for Spending Transparency

Baltimore received a grade of “B+” for spending transparency, according to a new report released today by Maryland PIRG. The report reviews Baltimore’s progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click budget accountability and accessibility.

 

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Blog Post | Safe Energy

Testimony on Residential Energy Use Disclosure

Maryland PIRG urges a favorable report on HB 1331. For most consumers, buying or renting a home is the biggest expense they ever incur. Given the magnitude of the investment, consumers deserve to make this choice with the most information possible. Disclosing a home’s energy use is the best way to make sure a potential buyer or renter has all the information they need to account for a home’s full operating costs.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Testimony on Green Cleaning Supplies | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of HB 1019, requiring a county board of education to adopt specified written policies relating to the procurement of green product cleaning supplies subject to specified exceptions; and requiring specified county boards to provide specified notice to the State Department of Education under specified circumstances.

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Blog Post | Tax

Maryland PIRG Testimony on Personal Property Tax | Jenny Levin

Maryland PIRG supports HB 1096, for the purpose of repealing certain property tax exemptions for certain personal property owned by certain financial institutions; providing for the application of this Act; and generally relating to the repeal of certain property tax exemptions for certain personal property owned by certain financial institutions.

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Blog Post | Budget

Testimony on Millionaires' Tax | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of SB 249, increasing the State income tax rate for an individual to 6.25% of Maryland taxable income in excess of $1,000,000; requiring the Comptroller to waive specified interest and penalties for the 2012 calendar year; and applying the Act to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2011

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Blog Post | Transportation

Testimony on Baltimore Transit-Oriented Development Fund | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of HB 213, establishing the Baltimore City Community Enhancement Transit-Oriented Development Fund as a special, non-lapsing fund for specified purposes

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