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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report Documents Transportation Trends in Arizona:

According to new research, Arizona is experiencing a shift in how people travel. Bikes, Trains and Less Driving, a report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and St. Luke’s Health Initiatives, found that between 2005-2012 Arizona saw a 10.5 percent decline in annual vehicle miles traveled per capita and Arizonans increasingly look to public transportation to get around.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Bikes, Trains and Less Driving

Arizona, like the rest of America, is experiencing a shift in how people travel. The Driving Boom – a six decade-long period of steady increase in per-capita driving across the United States – is over. Driving miles per person are down especially sharply among Millennials, America’s largest generation that will increasingly dominate transportation trends. Since 2005 Arizonans have been driving fewer miles per person, and they increasingly look to public transportation to get around.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

The CFPB at Three: A Child Prodigy | Ed Mierzwinski

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) turned just three years old Monday, July 21st, but when you look at its massive and compelling body of work, you must wonder: Are watchdog years like plain old dog years? Is the CFPB now a full-sized, 21-year-old adult? The answer is no, not yet. The CFPB is still growing and developing and adding programs and projects. The CFPB is, however, at three years old, certainly a child prodigy. Despite overwhelming public support, however, powerful special interests continue to attack it. Yet, the idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

FTC Sues Alleged Corporate Wrongdoers Amazon & T-Mobile | Diane E. Brown

In the last few days, the U.S. Federal Trade Commission (FTC) has filed lawsuits against the wireless company T-Mobile over cramming of "hundreds of millions of dollars" in junk charges on phone bills and the web seller Amazon over "millions of dollars in unauthorized in-app charges incurred by children." What's interesting is not that the companies are alleged to have broken the law, it's that they've refused to settle and forced the FTC into court.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Study: 70% of Fortune 500 Companies Used Tax Havens in 2013

Tax loopholes encouraged more than 70 percent of Fortune 500 companies – including Avnet and Insight Enterprises in Arizona  – to maintain subsidiaries in offshore tax havens as of 2013, according to “Offshore Shell Games,” released today by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and Citizens For Tax Justice. Collectively, the companies reported booking nearly $2 trillion offshore for tax purposes, with just 30 companies accounting for 62 percent of the total, or $1.2 trillion.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

New Arizona PIRG Education Fund Report Identifies Banks Consumers Complain About Most

Thousands of Americans are using the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s public Consumer Complaints Database to settle disputes with their banks, according to a new report from the Arizona PIRG Education Fund. The report highlights banks that generated the most complaints through their various banking services in each state.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Higher Ed

Student Loan Interest Rate Deal Will Make Things Worse

Senate lawmakers last night agreed to a deal on student loan reform that could be voted on as early as Tuesday of next week. The new proposal makes long-term changes to the student loan system, which address Congress’ budget crisis by charging student loan borrowers more. This deal prompted Arizona PIRG to call on Arizona Senators McCain and Flake to vote against the bill.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Tax

Ag Subsidies Pay for 20 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, at a rate that would buy 20 Twinkies for each taxpayer every year, according to a new report from Arizona PIRG, “Apples to Twinkies 2013.” Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy one half of an apple per taxpayer.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG | Higher Ed

Interest Rates for Arizona Student Loan Borrowers Double

Due to Congressional inaction, the interest rates on federally subsidized student loans doubled on July 1 from 3.4-percent to 6.8-percent. According to the Arizona Public Interest Research Group (Arizona PIRG), the change will translate into a $902 increase in debt per Arizona college student, per loan.  However, because most new student loans are issued in August and September, Congress can still pass a retroactive fix.

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News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Health Care

As New Health Insurance Rate Increases Become Effective, Consumer Group Provides Analysis & Offers Recommendations

Today, the Arizona PIRG Education Fund released A Glimpse into Arizona’s Health Insurance Rate Review Program. The document provides an initial analysis on how effectively Arizona is reviewing proposed health insurance rate increases for the individual market since taking over that responsibility from the federal government.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Distorted Democracy:

A new analysis of pre-election data from the Federal Election Commission (FEC) and other sources by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund and Demos shows that outside spending in the first presidential election since Citizens United is living up to its hype: new waves of “outside spending” have been fueled by dark money and unlimited fundraising from a small number of wealthy donors.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Food

Total Food Recall:

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off of store shelves.  These high-profile recalls leave many Americans wondering whether enough is being done to reduce the risk of contaminated food and foodborne illness. 

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Democracy

Million-Dollar Megaphones

Although each major party presidential candidate will likely break previous fundraising records, the big story of the 2012 election has been the role of Super PACs, nonprofits and outside spending generally. Demos and the Arizona PIRG Education Fund analyzed Federal Election Commission (FEC) data and secondary sources on outside spending and Super PAC fundraising for the first two quarters of the 2012 election cycle.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Food

Apples to Twinkies 2012

At a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic, crushing debt and a weak economy, billions of taxpayer dollars are subsidizing junk food ingredients. 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 - enough to buy 2.9 billion Twinkies every year or 21 for every single American taxpayer.

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Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

The Campus Debit Card Trap

Banks and other financial firms are taking advantage of a variety of opportunities to form partnerships with colleges and universities to produce campus student ID cards and to offer student aid disbursements on debit or prepaid cards. In addition to on-campus services, such as student ID functions offered on the card, some cards offer traditional debit card services linked to bank accounts; other cards provide additional reloadable prepaid card functions. The disbursement of financial aid and university refunds is the most significant partnership identified.

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Priority Action

The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening the effectiveness of lifesaving antibiotics. Call on the Obama Administration to put an end to the worst practices.

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