New Posts

Feb 8, 2016

Top 400 Taxpayers See Tax Rates Rise, But There’s More to the Story

As Americans were gathering party supplies to greet the New Year, the Internal Revenue Service released their annual report of cumulative tax data reported on the 400 tax r...

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Feb 4, 2016

Chlorine Bleach Plants Needlessly Endanger 63 Million Americans

Chlorine bleach plants across the U.S. put millions of Americans in danger of a chlorine gas release, a substance so toxic it has been used as a chemical weapon. Greenpeace’s new repo...

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Jan 25, 2016

U.S. Industrial Facilities Reported Fewer Toxic Releases in 2014

The Toxics Release Inventory (TRI) data for 2014 is now available. The good news: total toxic releases by reporting facilities decreased by nearly six percent from 2013 levels. Howe...

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Jan 22, 2016

Methane Causes Climate Change. Here's How the President Plans to Cut Emissions by 40-45 Percent.

  UPDATE (Jan. 22, 2016): Today, the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) released its proposed rule to reduce methane emissions...

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Hang Together or Hang Separately: The Battle Against Austerity

Sequestration's automatic spending cuts were back in the news over the past few weeks. For a brief time, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) had to furlough employees, leading to nationwide flight delays. At roughly the same time, a researcher exposed major flaws in one of the key texts serving as an intellectual buttress to global austerity policies. While those fighting against economically damaging austerity measures received a boost from these events, many fiscal policy battles and pitfalls still lie ahead.

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President's Budget Carries Outsized Economic and Political Risks

On April 10, President Obama released his proposed budget for the 2014 budget year. Unlike in the past, this year's budget came very late, after both the House and Senate had passed their respective budget plans. The president's plan is being billed by some as a compromise between the House and Senate.

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Americans' Views on Spending Versus Federal Budget Plans

President Barack Obama’s Fiscal Year 2014 budget request is at odds with the majority of Americans’ views on Social Security, according to recent Pew Research Center polling of some 1,500 Americans. Obama has proposed to modify how regular Social Security benefit increases are calculated by switching to a "chained" Consumer Price Index (CPI) to determine the annual cost-of-living adjustment (COLA), which would lead to benefit cuts for Social Security recipients over time. Social Security is extremely popular with 87 percent of Americans who support maintaining or increasing spending in this area.

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Administration Specifies Forthcoming Sequestration Spending Cuts

On Sept. 14, the Obama administration released a new report specifying cuts in federal spending that will take effect starting Jan. 2, 2013, if Congress does not take corrective action before then stopping the cuts from taking place. The report was mandated by the Sequestration Transparency Act of 2012 (P. L. 112–155), enacted on Aug. 7.

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Cutting Costs and Courting Contamination: What Food Safety Budget Cuts Mean for Public Safety

The Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS), the federal regulator of meat, poultry, and egg products, faces resource limitations that make it more difficult for the agency to ensure the safety of the food supply. New plans to cut costs could have severe consequences for public health and safety.

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Budget 101: The Differences between the President's Budget and a Budget Resolution

Today, the House released its budget resolution, a document laying out that chamber's budget priorities for the coming fiscal year. The budget resolution is often compared to another document, the president's budget, which is usually released a few weeks earlier. But these two documents are very different in both content and purpose. The budget resolution creates a budgetary framework for Congress, while the president's budget is more of a strategic planning document for federal agencies. These differences make it difficult to compare and contrast the documents' competing policies.

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Is the President’s Budget Dead on Arrival? Maybe Not

On Feb. 13, budget season officially began with the release of the president’s budget, which was immediately heralded as dead on arrival. “If there was ever a year to ignore the president’s annual budget proposal, this is it,” proclaimed the National Journal (subscription required). While this may be the fate of the president’s tax proposals, many of the program funding levels in his budget have a chance of becoming law.

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Obama Proposes Exempting IRS Enforcement from Budget Caps

One of the main objectives of President Obama’s fiscal year (FY) 2013 budget request for the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is to reduce the "tax gap," the difference between what taxpayers owe each year and what they actually pay. The president’s IRS budget request seeks funding increases for both taxpayer services and enforcement programs. Recognizing that a dollar spent on collecting revenue more than pays for itself, the Obama administration has proposed to exclude some IRS enforcement spending from the budget caps imposed by 2011's debt ceiling deal (known as the Budget Control Act).

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Revenue Proposals in FY 2013 Budget Anything but a Surprise

One doesn’t need an inside source at the White House or an advance copy of this year’s budget to know what the bulk of the proposed tax provisions in the Obama administration’s 2013 budget proposal are likely to be. The debt ceiling deal, recent rhetoric at campaign stops, and the president's State of the Union speech have painted a good portrait of what we can expect to see on Feb. 13.

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Obama's New Deficit Reduction Plan Unapologetically Balanced

Earlier today, President Obama released a new plan for reducing the federal deficit, or the shortfall between revenues and spending. The plan is technically a set of recommendations for the Super Committee, which Congress created last month to find $1.2 trillion in deficit reduction. Obama’s plan isn’t ideal, but it is easily one of the best set of deficit reduction recommendations to come out of Washington in a while.

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Resources & Research

Living in the Shadow of Danger: Poverty, Race, and Unequal Chemical Facility Hazards

People of color and people living in poverty, especially poor children of color, are significantly more likely...

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A Tale of Two Retirements: One for CEOs and One for the Rest of Us

The 100 largest CEO retirement funds are worth a combined $4.9 billion, equal to the entire retirement account savings of 41 percent of American fam...

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