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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Public Health

Broad Array of Public Interest Groups Call on Subway, the World’s Largest Fast-Food Chain: Help Save Antibiotics!

A letter signed by nearly 60 public interest, medical, public health, environmental and animal welfare organizations was delivered to Subway Founder and CEO Fred DeLuca and Senior VP Suzanne Greco today, asking the restaurant giant to phase out meats produced with routine use of antibiotics (i.e. for growth promotion and disease prevention). As the largest fast-food chain in the world, Subway’s action on this issue would help tackle the growing health crisis of antibiotic resistance.

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Hill Threats to CFPB Escalate As CFPB Protects Consumers, Servicemembers | Ed Mierzwinski

Today, the House Appropriations Committee, at the behest of both Wall Street and predatory lenders seeking to run amok, will vote to eliminate the CFPB's independence from the politicized appropriations process. Meanwhile, over at the CFPB, important work to protect consumers, including servicemembers, from unfair and predatory financial practices continues.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Democracy

Sen. Durbin Offers Bill to Fight Big Money in Elections by Amplifying Voices of Small Donors

With 2016 candidates already raising record amounts from large donors for their campaigns, U.S. Senator Dick Durbin introduced legislation today that would empower small donors in our elections. The Fair Elections Now Act would enable more Americans to participate in the electoral process by establishing a $25 “my voice” refundable tax credit. Small contributions of less than $150 would then be matched with limited public funds at a rate of six-to-one for Senate candidates that agree to turn down big money, amplifying the voices of small donors.  

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Blog Post | Consumer Protection

Data Breach Here, Data Breach There, Data Breach Everywhere! | Ed Mierzwinski

UPDATED 10 June Re DHS Breach: If you shop with plastic, have health insurance, pay taxes, work for the federal government, or (fill in blank) you’re at risk of a data breach. And with so much information about you already available on the Internet, it’s best not to select easy-search security questions like “Where were you born?” or answers like “Pizza.” What’s your best defense against identity theft? No, it isn’t credit monitoring, it’s a security freeze.

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Media Hit | Transportation

3 lessons from the Illiana boondoggle

With a few sentences in a news release last week, Gov. Bruce Rauner drove a crucial nail in the Illiana Expressway's coffin, a precipitous fall for what had been Illinois' No. 1 transportation priority. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Food

Flawed Farm Bill heads to the senate floor

The Senate is moving to vote on the farm bill, S.3240, that would continue the current system of agricultural subsidies to large, profitable agribusiness.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Safe Energy

Illinois PIRG statement on the resignation of NRC chairman Gregory Jackzo

We are deeply concerned by Chairman Gregory Jaczko’s resignation from the Nuclear Regulatory Commission.

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Media Hit | Tax

Questions remain on infrastructure trust

A few days ago, the City Council passed an ordinance to establish the Chicago Infrastructure Trust — a nonprofit that will leverage private, for-profit investment for public infrastructure projects. Much of the recent attention has been on the lack of strong public protections to make the trust transparent and accountable to citizens. But there is a more fundamental question: Do we really need it?

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Media Hit | Higher Ed

The New Student Battle Cry: Don't Double My Rate!

The media and the country are just waking up to the alarming fact that unless Congress acts by July 1, the interest rate on subsidized Stafford student loans will double from 3.4 percent to 6.8 percent. Congress must not let that happen.

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News Release | Illinois PIRG | Tax

Infrastructure Trust Approved Without Proper Taxpayer Protections

Today the Chicago City Council voted 41-7 to establish the Chicago Infrastructure Trust, despite many continued, substantial concerns from aldermen, Illinois PIRG and other advocacy organizations, and members of the public.

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Blog Post | Tax

The Super Committee should be super open | Celeste Meiffren

Our nation faces enormous fiscal challenges. As part of the deal that was recently struck to raise America’s debt ceiling, Congress established a new Joint Select Committee on Deficit Reduction to narrow the total budget gap by $1.5 trillion over the next decade. This “Super Committee” must report its findings by Thanksgiving, and if a majority of its 12 members support its conclusions, both houses of Congress will consider the resulting legislation under expedited procedures by December 23, 2011.

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Blog Post | Tax

Midway Airport Lease Resurgence | Celeste Meiffren

Is the deal to lease Midway Airport to a private company coming back?

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Blog Post | Tax

A More Transparent Cook County | Celeste Meiffren

Yesterday, Cook County released an unprecedented amount of data on their website: http://data.cookcountyil.gov/.

Using the same technology as the City of Chicago's Data Portal, Cook County has posted data related to economic development, county finances, public safety, property and taxation, and more.

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Blog Post | Budget, Tax

Wait, what is TIF? | Celeste Meiffren

I was at a BBQ this weekend for Labor Day and a friend of mine told me that she had been reading 'Tax Dollars and Sense,' but was embarrassed because she had no idea what tax increment financing is. That's understandable.

So, in an effort to hold up the "sense" part of this blog, here is a quick breakdown of what a TIF is and how it works.

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