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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

CFPB Adds Consumer Stories to Public Complaint Database | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the CFPB took a step to make its excellent public database of consumer complaints even better, by adding complaint narratives (stories), but only with the consumer's consent. It's a step we've long urged. It will enrich our research into the marketplace, help consumers make choices and help good-actor firms avoid bad practices by others.

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Report | PENNPIRG 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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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

Anthem Customers and Others: Some Advice On Steps To Take After Data Breach | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED (9 Feb.) Retail store data breaches make a mess, but an easy one to clean up and the few consumers who become fraud victims are quickly made whole. The Anthem hackers, on the other hand, reportedly obtained a mother lode of information that could be used to commit a variety of serious frauds, including obtaining your tax refund. Read our tips here. Here's the first: Don't click on any emails claiming to be from Anthem; some may be malicious.

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Report | PennPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

The Innovative Transportation Index

This report reviews the availability of 11 technology-enabled transportation services – including online ridesourcing, carsharing, ridesharing, taxi hailing, static and real-time transit information, multi-modal apps, and virtual transit ticketing – in 70 U.S. cities. It finds that residents of 19 cities, with a combined population of nearly 28 million people, have access to eight or more of these services, with other cities catching up rapidly.

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News Release | PennPIRG | Safe Energy

Tragedy in Japan a Terrifying Reminder of the Risks of Nuclear Power

Philadelphia, PA, Mar. 16 - Statement of PennPIRG State Director Megan DeSmedt, in response to the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station.

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News Release | PennPIRG Education Fund | Transportation

Mad Men Make Online Pitch for High Speed Rail

WASHINGTON, March 9 –Two lead actors from the hit television show Mad Men throw their support behind high-speed rail in a humorous new online video posted today on Funnyordie.com. The actors and U.S. PIRG, a national advocacy organization, developed the video in conjunction with the popular online video site as a way to reach new audiences and build excitement for high-speed rail projects around the country.

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Media Hit | Budget, Transportation

Pennsylvania should proceed with caution when it comes to privatizing its infrastructure

Cash-strapped governments across Pennsylvania are struggling to plug holes blown in their budgets by the economic downturn while the state's infrastructure remains in desperate need of maintenance and repair. Pennsylvania's Legislature must address our transportation funding crisis, but it must proceed with caution. Vital public assets should be operated for the public interest.

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News Release | Budget, Food

Ag Subsidies Pay for 19 Twinkies per Taxpayer, But Only a Quarter of an Apple Apiece

Philadelphia, PA – Federal subsidies for commodity crops are also subsidizing junk food additives like high fructose corn syrup, enough to pay for 19 Twinkies per taxpayer every year, according to Apples to Twinkies, a new report by PennPIRG. Meanwhile, limited subsidies for fresh fruits and vegetables would buy less than a quarter of an apple per taxpayer.

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Media Hit | Tax

In Pa., paying taxes is for the little people Businesses enjoy a huge loophole

A mind-boggling 71 percent of corporations that do business in Pennsylvania don't pay state income tax at all, according to the state Department of Revenue. Can you imagine what would happen if that many residents failed to pay their taxes?

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