Budget

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Closing the Billion Dollar Loophole

A new report tells how some states have found a simple reform to reclaim significant revenue lost to offshore tax havens. The repotr includes estimates of how much each state loses in state revenue to offshore tax haven abuse and how much each state would gain by closing the "water's edge" loophole.

Report | For Immediate Release | Budget

Following the Money 2017: Special Districts

Executive Summary

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.

“Special districts” are a type of government agency that exist outside of traditional forms of general purpose local or state governments, and serve key governmental functions such as public transit or housing. However, special districts are poorly understood by the public and often do business without adhering to modern standards of government budget or spending transparency. The lack of transparency and accountability of many special districts has caused concern among some state agencies and government watchdogs, as it can contribute to an atmosphere conducive to lowered efficiency and potential misconduct. 

News Release | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget

NEW REPORT: Georgia Receives "C" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Georgia received a “C” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to “Following the Money 2015: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data,” the sixth annual report of its kind by the Georgia Public Interest Research Group Education Fund.

News Release | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Report Exposes How Taxpayers Bear Cost of Corporate Settlements

A new report spotlights a common practice where corporations that commit wrongdoing and agree to financial settlements with the federal government go on to claim such settlement payments as tax-deductible business expenses.

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget, Tax

Subsidizing Bad Behavior

How Corporate Legal Settlements for Harming the Public Become Lucrative Tax Write Offs, with Recommendations for Reform

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Following the Money

The ability to see how government uses the public purse is fundamental to democracy. Transparency in government spending promotes fiscal responsibility, checks corruption, and bolsters public confidence.

In the past few years, state governments across the country have made their checkbooks transparent by creating online transparency portals.  These government-operated websites allow visitors to view the governmentís checkbook ñ who receives state money, how much, and for what purposes. Most of these websites are also searchable, making it easier for residents to follow the money and monitor government spending of many sorts. Today almost every state operates a transparency website with the stateís checkbook accessible to the public. 

News Release | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Unlikely Allies Uncover $1 Trillion in Savings for Super Committee

While the two groups have widely divergent views on many tax and fiscal issues, today they have joined forces to identify federal programs that both Republican and Democratic lawmakers should recognize as wasteful and inefficient uses of taxpayer dollars.

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget

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 Taxpayers Union and U.S. PIRG

joined together to identify mutually acceptable deficit reduction measures. This report

documents our findings.

 

What follows is a general summary of recommendations that fall into four rough categories:

 

1. $214.9 billion in savings from ending wasteful subsidies,

2. $444.8 billion from addressing outdated or ineffective military programs,

3. $221.6 billion from improving program execution and government operations, and

4. $132.1 billion from reforms to entitlement programs.

 

Each specific recommendation includes an estimate of its savings over the next ten years, and

a reference to the source from which the estimate was drawn.

Report | Georgia PIRG Education Fund | Budget

Toward Common Ground

Our nation faces unprecedented fiscal challenges, as the commitments we’ve made now and into the future far outpace our fiscal capacity. Congress, the President’s National Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform, and citizens across the country must grapple with very difficult decisions about how we can put our fiscal house in order. It will be critical to reach out across party lines and across ideological persuasions to achieve common-sense reforms that can bring us closer to balance.

The U.S. Public Interest Research Group (U.S. PIRG) and National Taxpayers Union (NTU) have joined together to propose a list of 30 specific recommendations to reform our future spending commitments. If enacted in their entirety, these changes would save taxpayers over $600 billion in total by 2015, the target date for the Fiscal Commission to reduce our publicly-held debt-to- GDP ratio to a more sustainable level of 60 percent. While our organizations have often differed about the proper regulatory scope of government and a host of tax policies, we are united in the belief that we spend far too much money on ineffective programs that do not serve the best interests of the American people.

The cuts deal with specific reforms to entitlement programs, defense spending, wasteful subsidies and a broad range of discretionary items of a smaller scale. While these proposals won’t get us all the way there, it is a start that could establish some common ground and make government more accountable in the process.

Some of the suggestions are aimed at procedural improvements, like collecting errant payments for Supplemental Security Income or housing subsidies. Others seek to eliminate programs that are wasteful or unnecessary, like the Market Access Program, which helps some of the most profitable companies in the world advertise their products abroad.

Every item on the list includes a five-year savings estimate for the Commission’s 2015 target. Those estimates are backed up by authoritative official sources such as the Congressional Budget Office, Government Accountability Office, Joint Committee on Taxation, or the Office of Management and Budget, as well as bipartisan panels and audit agencies. The recommendations are specific, detailed, and actionable items that Congress could pursue right now to reduce spending.

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