Reports

Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation and Citizens for Tax Justice | Tax

Offshore Shell Games

Many large U.S.-based multinational corporations avoid paying U.S. taxes by using accounting tricks to make profits made in America appear to be generated in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes. By booking profits to subsidiaries registered in tax havens, multinational corporations are able to avoid an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year. These subsidiaries are often shell companies with few, if any employees, and which engage in little to no real business activity. 

Report | Maryland PIRG | Tax

Picking up the tab 2014

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – but they avoid paying for these benefits. Instead, ordinary taxpayers end up picking up the tab, either in the form of higher taxes, cuts to public spending priorities, or increases to the federal debt.

Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Consumer Protection

The Unfriendly Skies

Consolidation in the airline industry, along with pressures created by new security rules and the recent high cost of aviation gasoline, has changed the way we fly. It seems as if every consumer has an airline travel story—how they were trapped on the tarmac, tricked by fees, missed their connection, or lost their bag.

Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Tax

Following the Money 2014

Every year, state governments spend tens of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are well spent.

Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation and Washington Toxics Coalition | Public Health

What's on Your List?

Parents want and expect the products they use to care for their children to be safe and free of harmful chemicals. But our nation’s toxic chemical laws are weak and ineffective and many harmful chemicals get into everyday consumer products without the public’s knowledge. Taking steps to remedy this problem, Washington State passed the Children’s Safe Products Act in 2008 (CSPA). CSPA set up requirements for makers of children’s products being sold in Washington to report to the state if these products contain chemicals on a list of 66 Chemicals of High Concern to Children. Manufacturer reporting began phasing-in in 2012. This document summarizes the chemicals and products reported from March 5 to September 6 of 2013.

Overall there were 4,605 reports of Chemicals of High Concern to Children reported in children’s products such as toys, clothing, baby safety products, and bedding during this time period. A total of 78 companies such as Walmart, Target, Safeway, Walgreens, Nike, and Toys “R” Us reported products containing harmful chemicals. A total of 49 chemicals such as formaldehyde, bisphenol A (BPA), parabens, phthalates, heavy metals, and industrial solvents were reported. The health effects of reported chemicals include carcinogenicity, endocrine disruption, and developmental or reproductive toxicity. This time period of reporting showed new companies reporting and showed new products being reported such as children’s tableware containing formaldehyde and toy vehicles containing antimony trioxide flame retardant. 

Washington’s reporting law is achievable for the business community. More states should be passing these laws so families have chemical information about products being sold where they live. Retailers should remove products containing toxic chemicals from their store shelves. Ultimately, companies should phase these chemicals out of use and Congress should strengthen and update the federal Toxic Substances Control Act. Families can help bring about these changes by taking action.

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