Stop Subsidizing Obesity

OUR TAX DOLLARS HELP FUEL OBESITY EPIDEMIC—Since 1995, $18 billion has been given away in subsidies to Big Agribusinesses, this money gets used to produce common junk food ingredients, like high-fructose corn syrup. These giveaways are all the more absurd at a time when one-in-three kids is overweight or obese.

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 $18 billion in the last 16 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 one-in-three 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:

  • High-fructose diets impair learning and memory.
  • For each additional can of soda drunk daily, the odds of a child becoming obese increases by about 60%.
  • Childhood obesity has quadrupled in the last 40 years.
  • Drinking one or two sugary drinks per day increases the risk for type 2 diabetes by 25%.
  • Once an adult problem, diabetes associated with obesity is increasing among children.

Issue updates

News Release | Budget

Offshore Tax Havens Cost Average Maryland Taxpayers $459 a Year

With tax day approaching, a new study released by Maryland PIRG found that the average Maryland taxpayer in 2011 would have to shoulder an extra $459 tax burden to make up for revenue lost from corporations and wealthy individuals shifting income to offshore tax havens. The report additionally found that to cover the cost of the corporate abuse of tax havens in 2011, small businesses in Maryland would have to foot a bill of over $2,298 on average.

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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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News Release | Maryland PIRG Foundation | Budget

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

Maryland 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 Maryland Public Interest Research Group (Maryland PIRG).  

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Report | Maryland PIRG Foundation | 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.

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Blog Post | Budget

Testimony on Millionaires' Tax | Jenny Levin

The Maryland Public Interest Group supports the passage of SB 249, increasing the State income tax rate for an individual to 6.25% of Maryland taxable income in excess of $1,000,000; requiring the Comptroller to waive specified interest and penalties for the 2012 calendar year; and applying the Act to taxable years beginning after December 31, 2011

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News Release | Budget

Failure to Close Tax Loopholes Harms Maryland Businesses

We are disappointed that the Maryland General Assembly did not take action to close corporate tax loopholes during the special session.

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Fraud, Failure No Deterrent to Federal Contract Awards

Companies with immediate past histories of shoddy work and fraudulent practices still receive billions of dollars in federal contracts, according to a new report by the Maryland PIRG Foundation.

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News Release | Budget

Business Leaders and Owners Call for Closing Tax Loopholes

Business leaders from across the state are calling for closing of tax loopholes in support of Gov. O’Malley’s announcement to close tax loopholes as part of the larger budget proposal.

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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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