20 Tax Dodgers: $240 Million for CEOs, Big Loss for the American People

USA Today published a story last week entitled “20 big profitable companies paid no taxes.” Using data provided by S&P Capital IQ, the newspaper identified 20 firms that paid no federal taxes in the second quarter of this year despite reporting $4.4 billion in second quarter profits. Collectively, these 20 CEOs were paid $240 million by the corporations they lead, an average of $12 million per CEO.

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Unemployment Insurance: A 79-Year Old Promise to American Workers That Needs Renewing

The Unemployment Insurance (UI) program was signed into law by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on Aug. 14, 1935, in the midst of the economy’s most severe contraction. At its lowest point, a quarter of the workforce was jobless, and in some areas, two-thirds of the unemployed had not worked for a year or more.  

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Industry Allies in Congress Assault Public Protections Once Again

Not content with restricting the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s ability to protect public health and the environment (see http://www.foreffectivegov.org/blog/congresss-latest-assault-epa), anti-regulatory members of Congress have broadened their sights to encompass the entire scope of federal agencies that provide public protections and safeguard the American people.

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Energy Department Conditionally Approves Controversial Maryland Export Terminal

On Sept. 11, 2013, the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) announced that it has conditionally approved a Dominion Resources Inc. permit application to convert its existing liquefied natural gas (LNG) import facility, located on the Chesapeake Bay, to an export terminal. The project must still receive final approval from several agencies, but if approved, the permit would allow the company to export up to 0.77 billion cubic feet of liquefied natural gas per day for 20 years to non-free trade countries like India and Japan. It could also increase the risk of catastrophic tanker accidents, air pollution, and water contamination.

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GAO Report Finds Problems with EPA Groundwater Protection Program

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) is not adequately monitoring more than 172,000 wells used to enhance oil and gas drilling and dispose of drilling wastewater, according to a July 28 report by the Government Accountability Office (GAO). The report, based on two years of research, identified several significant problems with EPA's program to protect groundwater from drilling chemicals and wastes.

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Toxic Toledo Water: Cities Nationwide Face Similar Risks

On Aug. 2, the City of Toledo, Ohio issued a water use ban for roughly 500,000 residents after chemists detected toxic levels of microcystin in the public water supply. Microcystin is a toxin produced by harmful algal blooms caused by the overuse of nitrogen and phosphorous fertilizers. Large amounts of excess fertilizers run off into waterways during rainstorms. Exposure to microcystin can cause diarrhea, nausea, liver dysfunction, and nervous system damage. Beyond the public health risks, harmful algal blooms also negatively impact ecosystems and burden the economy.

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Obama’s Executive Order to Improve Chemical Facility Safety, One Year Later

One year ago today, President Obama issued Executive Order 13650, which directs federal agencies to improve the safety and security of chemical facilities. The order came in response to a string of chemical disasters, including the April 2013 fertilizer plant explosion in West, Texas that killed 15 people and injured more than 200.

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Pitched Battle for GMO Labeling Continues

Update (07/24/2014): On July 17, the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) withdrew its GMO disclosure rule, previously proposed in February 2013. The rule would have allowed the USDA to share information with state regulators about the flow of genetically engineered organisms into and out of a state. The USDA obtains information about farmers’ GMO use through registrations and permit applications

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We Can Fix This. We've Done It Before. Re-imagining Government

When I talk to people who work in Washington, DC these days, I'm struck by the resignation. The political/policy professionals with whom I interact regularly are discouraged by the political posturing that undermines serious efforts at addressing national needs. They've counted noses and can tell me why nothing can happen in the next month, before November, before the end of the year, before the next presidential election. They tell us why we should give up. The fatigue is palpable, heavy, and contagious.

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Corporate Inversions: A “Get Out of Taxes Free” Card

If you don’t pay your taxes in America, you risk heavy fines or even jail time. That is, unless you are a major, profitable corporation able to merge with a firm registered in a low-tax country.

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