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

Media Hit | Tax

Farm Bill Dysfunction

Last week U.S. Republican representatives voted to exclude the nation’s revamped food stamps program from the House version of the 2013 farm bill. This week, the Colorado Public Interest Research Group released a report on what it calls the farm bill’s wasteful agricultural-subsidy spending, joining with farmers to ask Congress to make real reforms before passing the vital five-year legislation.

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Media Hit | Tax

Farm Bill Should End Subsidies for Agribusiness Giants

How serious are Colorado's congressmen about cutting wasteful spending? The farm bill vote in the U.S. House on July 11 provided some answers.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Budget

CoPIRG Applauds City of Denver’s Transparency Efforts

CoPIRG applauds the City of Denver for continuing to enhance and improve the transparency of government spending and services.

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Media Hit | Tax

Grower: Subsidies Help Big Ag, Not Small Farmers

Striking a proper balance is key to the good life organic food grower Scott Washkowiak of Palisade strives to provide for his wife, Jessica, and 18-month-old son, Clive. His sense of balance…

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Report | CoPIRG | Tax

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.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

CoPIRG Applauds House Voting Down Farm Bill

CoPIRG applauds Representatives Coffman, DeGette, Lamborn, Polis, and Perlmutter in voting down the Farm Bill.  CoPIRG opposes the House Farm Bill for locking in their unjustified corporate handouts for the next five years.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

House Narrowly Rejects Measure to Limit Subsidies for Largest Agribusinesses

The House rejected even modest amendments to reduce subsidies for the most profitable agribusinesses. The Kind-Petri amendment, which would have cut off certain subsidies for agribusinesses with high incomes, failed with a narrow 208-217 vote.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Tax

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Colorado Taxpayer $1,183 a Year

With Tax Day approaching, CoPIRG was joined today by Zach Hepner, owner of Velosoul Bikes and Marlene Nuechterlien owner of Caboodle Gifts to release a new study which revealed that the average Colorado taxpayer in 2012 would have to shoulder an extra $1,183 in taxes to make up for the revenue lost due to the use of offshore tax havens by corporations and wealthy individuals and the average small business would need to shoulder $2,957.

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News Release | CoPIRG Foundation | Budget, Tax

New Report: Colorado Receives a “D+” in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

The CoPIRG Foundation released its 4th annual study, titled "Following the Money 2013: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data." The report examines how transparent Colorado makes its spending compared to the other 49 states.

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News Release | CoPIRG | Budget, Tax

NEW LEGISLATION TO CLOSE OFFSHORE TAX LOOPHOLES WOULD SAVE TAXPAYERS $200 BILLION

The CUT Loopholes Act would close a myriad of the most egregious offshore tax loopholes. This legislation is based on the premise that if a U.S. company earns profits here in the U.S., with the benefit of America’s educated workforce, infrastructure, and large consumer base, it should pay taxes in America, like small businesses and everyday taxpayers.

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Report | CoPIRG | Tax

Picking Up the Tab

Some U.S.-based multinational firms or individuals avoid paying U.S. taxes by transferring their earnings to tax haven countries with minimal or no taxes. These tax haven users benefit from their access to America’s markets, workforce, infrastructure and security; but they pay little or nothing for it—violating the basic fairness of the tax system and forcing other taxpayers to pick up the tab.

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Report | CoPIRG | Tax

Following the Money 2012

Colorado received a “C-” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to Following the Money 2012: How the States Rank on Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the third annual report of its kind by the Colorado Public Interest Research Group (CoPIRG). 

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Report | CoPIRG | Tax

Representation without Taxation

This report reveals the "Dirty Thirty" companies that collectively spent more on lobbying then they paid in federal taxes.

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Report | CoPIRG | Budget, Tax

Toward Common Ground

To break through the ideological divide that has dominated Washington this past year and offer a
pathway to address the nation’s fiscal problems, the National Taxpayer Union and U.S. PIRG joined
together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction.

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Report | CoPIRG | Food

Apples to Twinkies

The rise in childhood obesity has many causes, but one of the most important is the increased prevalence of high-fat, heavily sweetened junk food.  And shockingly, American taxpayers are spending billions to subsidize junk food ingredients, making the problem worse.

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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.

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