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Report | NMPIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money 2015

Every year, state governments spend hundreds 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 spent as well as possible. 

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

As NY Brings Credit Bureaus To Heel, CFPB Arbitration Study Paves Way Toward New Protections | Ed Mierzwinski

Two big consumer stories so far this week offer hope to consumers victimized by credit bureau errors and, more generally, by an inability to take credit bureaus, credit card companies, banks or payday lenders to court when harmed. On Monday, New York's Attorney General Eric Schneiderman signed a groundbreaking agreement with the Big Three credit bureaus, Equifax, Trans Union and Experian. Then today, the CFPB released a report finding that consumer legal rights are infringed by small-print forced arbitration clauses in credit card and other contracts.  The CFPB will hold a webcast public hearing at 11am Eastern time today (Tuesday) to discuss the report's findings and next steps.

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Media Hit | Financial Reform

Credit Bureaus’ Deal to Improve Accuracy ‘Huge’ for Consumers

(Bloomberg) -- Buying homes, getting jobs and borrowing money will be easier after an agreement by the three biggest U.S. consumer credit reporting services with New York.[...] “It’s a sea change in the way the credit bureaus treat complaints,” said [U.S. PIRG's Ed] Mierzwinski. “The credit bureaus have been run by computers for years now. They’re going to have to hire more people and actually verify that what a creditor said is true.”

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

Is Anyone Protecting Your Privacy Or Wallet? Turbotax? Anthem? Apple? The Government? | Ed Mierzwinski

As if recent privacy breaches at the online tax preparer Turbotax and the health insurer Anthem weren't enough, it turns out that low-tech hacks can trick the vaunted Apple Pay system into giving up cash to thieves, too. Meanwhile, while the administration's blueprint for a Privacy Bill of Rights in 2012 was excellent, its new legislative draft from the Department of Commerce could have been written by the U.S. Chamber of Commerce. There is some good news on privacy, though.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

As House Holds Oversight Hearing, 340 Groups Call For Defense of CFPB | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Director Richard Cordray will present the CFPB's sixth semi-annual report to the House Financial Services Committee, whose majority members have been harsh critics of the successful consumer agency. Americans for Financial Reform, joined by the state PIRGs and a total of 340 national, state and local groups, sent Congress a letter explaining why the idea of the CFPB needs no defense, only more defenders.

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News Release | NMPIRG | Democracy, Financial Reform

TODAY SUPREME COURT RULED FOR ANOTHER FLOOD OF BIG MONEY

Today the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in McCutcheon v. FEC to strike down overall, or aggregate, contribution limits to candidates and political committees. U.S. PIRG research found that this ruling could bring $1 billion in additional campaign contributions from fewer than 2,800 elite donors through the 2020 election cycle.

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News Release | NMPIRG | Democracy

NMPIRG Applauds the Introduction of the Government by the People Act

NMPIRG applauded Rep. Michelle Lujan Grisham and Rep. Ben Luján today for co-sponsoring new legislation aimed at raising the voices of everyday people in the political process. Rep. Lujan Grisham and Rep. Luján are co-sponsors of the Government By the People Act (H.R. 20), legislation that would allow candidates to run competitive campaigns for office by relying on small dollar donors.

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News Release | NMPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

New Report: University Campuses Like the University of New Mexico Are Transportation Trailblazers as Students Lead Shift From Driving

As Millennials lead a national shift away from driving, universities like the University of New Mexico are giving students new options for getting around and becoming innovators in transportation policy, according to a new report released today. The report, titled, “A New Course: How Innovative University Programs Are Reducing Driving on Campus and Creating New Models for Transportation Policy,” was released by NMPIRG Education Fund.

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News Release | NMPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Albuquerque Driving Less, Using Transit and Alternatives More

A first-of-its-kind report by NMPIRG Education Fund shows reduced driving miles and rates of car commuting in New Mexico’s urbanized areas—including the Albuquerque —and greater use of public transit and biking.

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News Release | NMPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Dangerous Toys on Store Shelves

Dangerous or toxic toys can still be found on America’s store shelves, according to the New Mexico Public Interest Research Group’s 28th annual Trouble in Toyland report.  The survey of hazardous toys found that despite recent progress, consumers must still be wary when shopping this holiday season.

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Report | NMPIRG | Budget, Tax

Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole

Every year, corporations 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 use tax havens to escape supporting these public structures and benefits.

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Report | NMPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Transportation in Transition

A first-of-its-kind report showing that on average, residents of America’s cities are driving less and using other modes of travel more.  The report compares the latest government data on changes in automobile use, public transit travel and biking in each of the most populous 100 urbanized areas across the nation.  Recommendations are made for how policy leaders should adapt to these new trends.

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Report | NMPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Trouble in Toyland 2013

The 2013 Trouble in Toyland report is the 28th annual New Mexico Public Interest Research Group survey of toy safety. In this report, NMPIRG provides safety guidelines for consumers when purchasing toys for small children and provides examples of toys currently on store shelves that may pose potential safety hazards.

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Report | NMPIRG Education Fund | Consumer Protection

Big Credit Bureaus, Big Mistakes

The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau was established in 2010 in the wake of the worst financial crisis in decades. Its mission is to identify dangerous and unfair financial practices, educate consumers about these practices, and regulate the financial institutions that perpetuate them.

This report is the third of several that review consumer complaints to the CFPB nationally and on a state-by-state level. In this report, we explore consumer complaints about credit bureaus with the aim of uncovering patterns in the problems consumers are experiencing with credit reporting.

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Report | NMPIRG Education Fund | Food

Food Safety Scares 2013

Over the past few years, Americans have grown accustomed to seeing headlines about tainted food being recalled and pulled off 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. And they are right to do so—48 million people get sick from eating tainted food each year, and despite significant coststo our economy and Americans’ public health, the number of such illnesses, particularly from Salmonella, has remained stagnant for at least 5 years.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Don’t Freeze our Public Health and Consumer Safety Protections

Last year, in the 175 days that the U.S. House of Representatives was in session, it passed more than 190 anti-regulatory bills. Putting profits over public safety and they are still at it. Next up is H.R. 4078, the “Regulatory Freeze for Jobs Act of 2012,” a bill that wrongly calls for a halt on all public health and consumer safety protections until the unemployment rate reaches six percent.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

50 Years Ago This Week, JFK Ushered in Modern Consumer Protection Era | Ed Mierzwinski

I've got a new column at Huffington Post, "50 Years Ago This Week, JFK Ushered in Modern Consumer Protection Era." I discuss President Kennedy's visionary "Special Message to the Congress on Protecting the Consumer Interest" announced on March 15, 1962. He declared that consumers have rights and government should protect them. Read the full column after the jump.

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Blog Post | Budget

Could Obama’s Business Tax Reform Realize Its Potential?

The much anticipated corporate tax reform framework released last week by President Obama hit all the right notes but lacked the details to know if can fully realize it’s potential.

 

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Blog Post | Financial Reform

CFPB to announce overdraft fee investigation, unveil "penalty box" disclosure, possibly end $39 lattes.

The new CFPB took over in July 2011 as primary supervisor and enforcer for the (over 100) biggest banks. Director Cordray's inquiry into checking account overdraft practices is an important step that will also require greater fee transparency, so consumers are more aware of bank practices.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

OPINION POLL: SMALL BUSINESSES SAY WEAK CUSTOMER DEMAND, NOT REGULATIONS, THEIR PROBLEM

National poll finds 78 percent of small businesses say regulations needed to protect small businesses from unfair competition, level playing field with big business; 86 percent see regulations as necessary part of a modern economy.

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The overuse of antibiotics on factory farms is threatening these lifesaving medicines. Call on big restaurants to do their part and stop buying meat raised with critical antibiotics.

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