Reducing Our Exposure to Toxic Chemicals: Stronger State Health Protections at Risk

In 1976, the United States enacted the Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) to address public concerns about the impact of a growing number of untested chemicals on human health. For almost 40 years, this federal law has been the lynchpin of our nation’s chemical safety policy, and it has failed to protect the American people from being exposed to thousands of chemicals in commercial use that are known to cause harm to humans. This report looks at the starkly different Senate bills that attempt to fix these problems.

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Making the Grade: Access to Information Scorecard 2015

We conducted our second annual analysis of the performance of the 15 federal agencies that consistently receive the most Freedom of Information Act requests. Most agencies have improved, but scores are once again low overall.

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2016 Public Protections Budget Dashboard

A critical function of government is to protect citizens from harm. We expect our national government to keep contaminated food off the grocery store shelves and out of restaurants; to prevent industrial facilities from poisoning the air and water in our communities, and to ensure we have safe workplaces. The Center for Effective Government has compiled the budget levels for four key federal regulatory agencies named above using White House budget documents going back to fiscal year 2004 and adjusted them for inflation.

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Gaming the Rules: How Big Business Hijacks the Small Business Review Process to Weaken Public Protections

Small businesses are heroic and iconic figures in the American story of opportunity. The vast majority of private enterprises in the U.S. today employ fewer than 100 workers, and many workers aspire to own their own business. So when small businesses argued that the federal rulemaking process should pay attention to their special needs, policymakers listened. By law, three federal agencies – the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau – are required to convene a small business review panel any time they plan to issue a rule that could have a significant economic impact on small businesses. To determine who was serving on these panels and whether they were, in fact, representing and protecting the interests of small businesses, staff at the Center for Effective Government examined 20 Small Business Advocacy Review panels convened between 1998 and 2012.

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Fleecing Uncle Sam

Seven of America's 30 largest corporations paid their CEOs more last year than they paid in federal income taxes.

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Kids in Danger Zones

One in every three schoolchildren in America today attends a school within the vulnerability zone of a hazardous chemical facility. We value our children and do everything we can to keep them safe. Yet, one area that has proved surprisingly resistant to effective oversight is toxic chemicals.

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The Benefits of Public Protections: Ten Rules That Save Lives and Protect the Environment

This report examines the public health, worker safety, and environmental benefits projected from ten proposed or final rules issued between 2009 and 2014 by five federal agencies (the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Occupational Safety and Health Administration, National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, Food and Drug Administration, and Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service). These rules range from reducing toxic air pollutants from power plants and other large industrial sources, to reducing workers’ exposure to disease-causing silica, and to making vehicles safer.

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The Bridge to Prosperity: Reverse Reckless Cuts, Restore Our Infrastructure, and Revive Jobs

The United States is facing a growing infrastructure crisis and a lingering jobs crisis. Most of America’s infrastructure was built in the decades directly after World War II. Each day in America, more than 700 water mains break. Seventeen percent of water pumped by municipal pumping stations never reaches consumers’ faucets – a waste of 2.4 trillion gallons of precious water each year. Potholes on the nation’s roads cost the average family $355 in additional car repairs annually, deficient roads and bridges will cost businesses an estimated $43 billion a year in transportation delays and shipment rerouting, and too many children attend schools with leaky roofs, rattling windows, and decrepit plumbing.

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The Disappearing Corporate Tax Base: How to Reclaim Lost Tax Revenue to Rebuild State Budgets

American states and cities and the people who live in them are hurting. States and cities were ravaged by the Great Recession of 2007-2009. While the recession is officially over, its damage remains deeply felt in families and communities across America. More than 10 million Americans remain out of work, nearly half of them for more than six months. More than half a million state and local public jobs disappeared because of budget cuts and have not been refilled.

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Making the Grade: Access to Information Scorecard 2014

A building block of American democracy is the idea that as citizens, we have a right to information about how our government works and what it does in our name. The Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) requires federal agencies to promptly respond to public requests for information unless disclosure of the requested information would harm a protected interest. Unfortunately, since its passage in 1966 and reform in 1974, federal agencies have failed to implement the law consistently, which can make it challenging for citizens to gain access to public information as the law guarantees.

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