Stop Subsidizing Obesity

HOW TAX DOLLARS BECOME TWINKIES—Since 1995, $17 billion in subsidies for big agribusiness have gone to common junk food ingredients including high-fructose corn syrup.

PUT JUNK FOOD SUBSIDIES ON A DIET

Almost anything you can think of would be a better use of our tax dollars than subsidizing the ingredients in junk food, but every year more than a billion taxpayer dollars do just that. Huge, profitable corporations like Cargill and Monsanto have pocketed $17 billion in the last 15 years and turned subsidized crops into junk food ingredients — including high-fructose corn syrup.

These taxpayer giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when 1 in 3 kids is overweight or obese, and obesity-related diseases like diabetes are turning into an epidemic.

Many of these wasteful subsidies are set to expire this year, but industry lobbyists are urging Congress to keep them. In 2008 alone, big agribusinesses spent $200 million on lobbying and campaign contributions.

No one in Congress wants to be seen standing up for taxpayer giveaways to junk food. Cutting wasteful spending while attacking childhood obesity could be the perfect storm we need to push past the junk food industry.

Obesity Quick Facts:

    • Diets high in saturated fats impair learning and memory.
    • Once an adult problem, diabetes associated with obesity is growing among children.
    • One in three school-age children is overweight or obese.
    • The rate of childhood obesity has tripled in the last 30 years.

Issue updates

News Release | NJPIRG Citizen Lobby | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average NJ Taxpayer $1,560 a Year, NJ Small Business $4,982

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for loopholes in our tax laws. NJPIRG was joined today by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), Geetha Jayaraman, owner of Grab ‘Em Snacks and member of the Main Street Alliance, and Rutgers students to release a new study which revealed that the average New Jersey taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,560 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. New Jerseyans’ extra tax burden is the eighth highest in the nation.

> Keep Reading
Report | NJPIRG Citizen Lobby | Budget, Tax

Picking Up the Tab

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – but they avoid paying for these benefits.

> Keep Reading
News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget

New Report: New Jersey Receives a “C+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

New Jersey received a C+ when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group Law & Policy Center (NJPIRG LPC).

> Keep Reading
Report | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget

Following the Money 2014

This report, NJPIRG LPC’s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites, finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. Over the past year, new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information. Many states, however, still have a long way to go to provide taxpayers with the information they need to ensure that government is spending their money effectively.

> Keep Reading
News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Food

NJ Consumers Call on Stop&Shop to Label GMOs, On Anniversary of Whole Foods Labeling Commitment

Consumers and advocates launched a campaign calling on Stop&Shop to label its store-brand products for ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the one year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement that it will adopt labeling for all products in its stores.

> Keep Reading

Pages

News Release | NJPIRG Citizen Lobby | Budget, Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average NJ Taxpayer $1,560 a Year, NJ Small Business $4,982

As hardworking Americans file their taxes today, it’s a good time to be reminded of how ordinary taxpayers pick up the tab for loopholes in our tax laws. NJPIRG was joined today by Congressman Frank Pallone, Jr. (NJ-6), Geetha Jayaraman, owner of Grab ‘Em Snacks and member of the Main Street Alliance, and Rutgers students to release a new study which revealed that the average New Jersey taxpayer in 2013 would have to shoulder an extra $1,560 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals. New Jerseyans’ extra tax burden is the eighth highest in the nation.

> Keep Reading
News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget

New Report: New Jersey Receives a “C+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

New Jersey received a C+ when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2014: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the fifth annual report of its kind by the New Jersey Public Interest Research Group Law & Policy Center (NJPIRG LPC).

> Keep Reading
News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Food

NJ Consumers Call on Stop&Shop to Label GMOs, On Anniversary of Whole Foods Labeling Commitment

Consumers and advocates launched a campaign calling on Stop&Shop to label its store-brand products for ingredients derived from genetically modified organisms (GMOs), on the one year anniversary of Whole Foods’ announcement that it will adopt labeling for all products in its stores.

> Keep Reading
News Release | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget, Tax

NJ could save nearly $60 million with simple, proven method to curb offshore tax dodging, new study finds

New Jersey taxpayers could save $59.8 million from a simple reform to crack down on offshore tax dodging, according to a new report released today by the NJPIRG Law & Policy Center. The reform, which has already been proven effective in Montana and passed in Oregon, would require companies to treat profits booked to notorious tax havens as domestic taxable income.

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Pages

Report | NJPIRG Citizen Lobby | Budget, Tax

Picking Up the Tab

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their state and federal income tax liability by billions of dollars. Tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – but they avoid paying for these benefits.

> Keep Reading
Report | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Budget

Following the Money 2014

This report, NJPIRG LPC’s fifth annual evaluation of state transparency websites, finds that states are making progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. Over the past year, new states have opened the books on public spending and several states have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information. Many states, however, still have a long way to go to provide taxpayers with the information they need to ensure that government is spending their money effectively.

> Keep Reading
Report | NJPIRG Law & Policy Center | Public Health, Consumer Protection, Food

A Year of Progress

The past year has shown that food producers and retailers are listening to consumers’ desire for information and choices when it comes to GMOs.  It’s smart business to give customers what they want, and some companies are beginning to build the transparent marketplace that consumers deserve. This white paper summarizes companies' recent actions related to GMOs.

> Keep Reading
Report | NJPIRG | Budget, Tax

Offshore Shell Games

Many large U.S.-based multinational corporations avoid paying U.S. taxes by using accounting tricks to make profits made in America appear to be generated in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes. By booking profits to subsidiaries registered in tax havens, multinational corporations are able to avoid an estimated $90 billion in federal income taxes each year. These subsidiaries are often shell companies with few, if any employees, and which engage in little to no real business activity.

> Keep Reading
Report | NJPIRG | Budget, Public Health, Food

Apples to Twinkies 2013

At a time when America faces high obesity rates and tough federal budget choices, taxpayer dollars are funding the production of junk food ingredients. Since 1995, the government has spent $292.5 billion on agricultural subsidies, $19.2 billion of which have subsidized corn- and soy-derived junk food ingredients. These subsidies are all the more egregious at a time when America is facing an obesity epidemic. Children are three times more likely to be obese than their counterparts three decades ago.

> Keep Reading

Pages

Blog Post | Budget, Food

Farm Bill Still Giving Corporate Handouts to Big Ag | Jennifer Kim

The U.S. Senate passed its version of the 2012 Farm Bill, and clearly it is still business as usual. The Farm Bill continues its bad habit of subsidizing a few commodity crops like corn and soy to the tune of billions of dollars. Current subsidies go to the largest agribusinesses, with three quarters of the subsidy payments going to fewer than 4% of U.S. farmers.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Budget

Problems With Privatized Law Enforcement's New Frontier | Phineas Baxandall

One in five Americans lives in a jurisdiction that outsources traffic ticketing this way, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, titled "Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public." And a report released by the Justice Department suggests this trend may accelerate under the twin pressures of budget pressure and intense lobbying.

> Keep Reading
Blog Post | Budget

Problems With Privatized Law Enforcement's New Frontier | Ed Mierzwinski

One in five Americans lives in a jurisdiction that outsources traffic ticketing this way, according to a newly released report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group, titled "Caution: Red Light Cameras Ahead; The Risks of Privatizing Traffic Law Enforcement and How to Protect the Public." And a report released by the Justice Department suggests this trend may accelerate under the twin pressures of budget pressure and intense lobbying.

> Keep Reading
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You Can Help

We have a chance to cut billions in junk food subsidies this year. Your support will help us do the research, advocacy and grassroots organizing to convince our elected officials to act.

Priority Action

Every year, our tax dollars pay for enough corn syrup and other junk food additives to buy 2.8 million Twinkies. It's time to stop subsidizing obesity.

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