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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Austerity Politics: Automatic Spending Cuts, a Government Shutdown, Job Loss, and Record Corporate Profits

2013 opened with the economy poised on the edge of "the fiscal cliff," and on that cliff was a sign reading, "Manufactured in Washington D.C." How did we start the year on a ledge, land in a shutdown in October, and scramble to a mini-deal in December? Since it all goes back to the Budget Control Act passed in August of 2011, a short recap may be in order.

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The Corporate Tax Rate Debate: Lower Taxes on Corporate Profits Not Linked to Job Creation

The American corporate tax system is badly broken. Some corporations pay more than a third of their profits in federal income taxes, while other equally profitable firms pay nothing at all. On average, corporations pay just 12.6 percent of their profits in federal income taxes, according to a recent study by the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

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Taxes on Corporate Profits Not Tied to Job Creation, New Study Finds

WASHINGTON, Dec. 3, 2013—Washington D.C. is abuzz with the possibility of corporate tax reform. Years of intense lobbying from corporate executives have convinced many in Congress and the White House that a 35 percent tax on corporate profits represents a competitive threat to American businesses and to the economy. Rep. Dave Camp (R-MI) and Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT), respective chairs of the two powerful congressional tax writing committees, have joined President Obama in calling for closing corporate tax loopholes and using the proceeds to reduce the tax rate on corporate profits. But a study just released by the Center for Effective Government shows that the taxes corporations pay on profits are historically quite low. Moreover, there is no evidence that lowering taxes on corporate profits will lead to more job creation in the U.S.

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More Federal User Fees Could Be Part of a Mini Budget Deal

Observers have low expectations of the special House-Senate committee set up to craft recommendations for a long-term fiscal deal to replace the next nine years of so-called "sequestration" (automatic and indiscriminate budget cuts). Those recommendations are due by Dec. 13. The committee met for the first time last week, with Republicans publicly opposed to tax reforms that could generate more revenue and Democrats rejecting a spending cuts-only approach. But some think a smaller deal could happen to replace a year or more of sequestration, involving more "federal user fees" as a modest way to generate more funding.

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The Government Is Open Again…Now What?

Just after midnight on Oct. 17, President Obama signed legislation that avoided a dangerous default and reopened the government after the third-longest government shutdown in history. Under the terms of the deal, the government was funded through Jan. 15, 2014, and the debt limit was extended until Feb. 7, 2014.

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Levin Bill Would Shutter Corporate Tax Loopholes

Last week, Sen. Carl Levin (D-MI) introduced the Stop Tax Haven Abuse Act, which would restrict the use of offshore tax havens by corporations. At a time when corporate profits are high by historic standards, the bill could raise money for vital government programs and reduce the deficit. The legislation is a slimmed down version of the Cut Unjustified Tax (CUT) Loopholes Act of 2013 (S. 268), introduced earlier this year.

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Tax Reform Should Not Happen Behind Closed Doors

Senate Finance Committee Chairman Max Baucus (D-MT) and Ranking Member Orrin Hatch (R-UT) pledged to their colleagues in the Senate earlier this month that their tax reform proposals—namely on tax breaks and loopholes, both of great concern to corporate interests—would be kept secret for 50 years. In contrast, presidential records become accessible to the public after 12 years with certain exceptions.

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Danger Brewing on Tax Reform

The need for a more progressive tax system is clear. There is ample evidence, including the fact that while corporate profits are at a 60-year high, corporate taxes are near their 60-year low as a percentage of the economy.

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GAO: Average Corporate Tax Rate Is Just 13%

Profitable U.S. corporations pay 12.6 percent of their pre-tax worldwide income in federal corporate taxes, according a new report by the Governmental Accountability Office (GAO), released July 1 by Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Tom Coburn (R-OK). Their effective tax rate is lower than that faced by the typical middle-class American.

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House May Pass Partisan Tax Reform Plan

House Republicans have indicated that, if necessary, they may pass tax reform legislation with little or no support from House Democrats, according to a June 18 article in The Hill.

One key difference between the two parties is whether tax reform legislation should raise new revenues overall, as Democrats would prefer, or be revenue-neutral, as Republicans would prefer.

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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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