Reports

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Budget, Tax

Following the Money 2019

Citizens’ ability to understand how their tax dollars are spent is fundamental to democracy. Budget and spending transparency holds government officials accountable for making smart decisions, checks corruption, and provides citizens an opportunity to affect how government dollars are spent.

State and local governments spend billions of dollars every year on economic development programs in the form of forgone tax revenue and direct cash grant payments to corporations in an effort to stoke investment and job creation in a particular city, state or industry.

A review of economic development subsidy reporting in all 50 states finds that a majority of states fail to meet minimum standards of online transparency, leaving residents, watchdogs and public officials in the dark about key public expenditures. States should shine light on economic development subsidies by requiring the online publication of key transparency reports and inclusion of economic development spending in the state’s online checkbook portal to meet the expectations of citizens seeking information in the 21st century.

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Consumer Tips

Trouble in Toyland 2019

Millions of parents, grandparents, and caregivers are preparing to buy toys for the loved ones in their lives. Luckily, these toys are safer than ever thanks to years of progress driven by consumer non-profits, public health organizations, elected officials, and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

For the last thirty-three years, our annual Trouble in Toyland has helped expose threats, including high levels of lead, “smart” toys with data security flaws, choking hazards, and more. By revealing these dangers, the report has empowered parents to take key actions to ensure toys are safe, while simultaneously pushing decision-makers to enact legislation like the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act to remove these threats completely. 

Despite that progress, dangerous toys continue to reach the market and injure children. In May, the Washington Attorney General announced testing, which revealed illegal levels of lead and cadmium in supplies and kids’ jewelry. There were 15,000 purchases of these products. In August, the Wall Street Journal found thousands of toys that failed to meet safety standards for choking hazards, toxics, and other threats--including two toys with illegal levels of lead.

It isn’t surprising then, that the CPSC’s most recently available data reveals 251,700 emergency room visits resulting from toys. This number doesn’t begin to account for the long term damages caused by toxins such as lead, boron, or cadmium, which researchers continue to find in toys and other products marketed to children.

Many of these injuries and hazards are avoidable through vigilance and improving the toy safety system.

But with so many toys hitting the market every year, how can people make sure their kids’ toys are safe? We’ve found dangerous toys parents can identify themselves; those that require stronger safety standards to keep kids safe; and lastly, recalled toys that are still for sale.

Report | U.S. PIRG Education Fund | Public Health

Chain Reaction V

The Chain Reaction V report grades the top fast food and fast casual chanins on antibiotic use policies for their beef supply chains. 

Report | OSPIRG Foundation

What are Oregonians Fixing?

Here in Oregon, we want to fix our stuff.

Something breaks or doesn’t work right. You could throw it away, but you don’t want to be wasteful, so you try to figure out how to get it fixed.

Report | OSPIRG Foundation | Transportation

Highway Boondoggles 5

America’s aging roads and bridges need fixing. Our car-dependent transportation system is dangerous, harms our communities, and is the nation’s leading source of global warming pollution. And more than ever before, it is clear that America needs to invest in giving people healthier, more sustainable transportation options.

 

Yet year after year, state and local governments propose billions of dollars’ worth of new and expanded highways that often do little to reduce congestion or address real transportation challenges, while diverting scarce funding from infrastructure repairs and key transportation priorities. Highway Boondoggles 5 finds nine new budget-eating highway projects slated to cost a total of $25 billion that will harm communities and the environment, while likely failing to achieve meaningful transportation goals.

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