Taxpayer Safeguards Updates

Getting good data on rate designs is worth the effort

By | Diane Brown
Executive Director

There’s been good national conversation in recent years around the need for transparency and responsiveness from electric utilities and regulators when it comes to data on rates and pilots, assessing impacts on consumers, and consumer outreach and education. At the local level, though, it can take quite a bit of work to turn guidelines into reality. 

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Report gives Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement & Power District “F” for Spending Transparency

A new report, “Following the Money 2017: Governing in the Shadows”, released by Arizona PIRG Education Fund found that special districts, like the Salt River Project Agricultural Improvement and Power District, are nationally failing to meet modern standards of spending transparency. The report looked at 79 special districts and graded them based on the accessibility of checkbook level spending data, budget information, and audited financial statements. 53% of all districts analyzed, including the district in Arizona, earned a failing grade.

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Following the Money 2017: Special Districts

“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. 

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Following the Money 2016

This seventh annual evaluation of state transparency websites finds that states continue to make progress toward comprehensive, one-stop, one-click transparency and accountability for state government spending. In 2015, several states launched new and improved websites to better open the books on public spending, or have adopted new practices to further expand citizens’ access to critical spending information. Several states, however, continue to lag behind. See how Arizona ranks in the report.

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

NEW REPORT: Arizona Receives "B" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Arizona received a “B” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to Following the Money 2016: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data, the seventh annual report of its kind by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund.

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Picking up the Tab 2015

Every year, corporations and wealthy individuals use complicated gimmicks to shift U.S. earnings to subsidiaries in offshore tax havens – countries with minimal or no taxes – in order to reduce their federal and state income tax liabilities by billions of dollars. While tax haven abusers benefit from America’s markets, public infrastructure, educated workforce, security and rule of law – all supported in one way or another by tax dollars – they continue to avoid paying for these benefits.

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Arizona Small Businesses Foot $2,213 Bill from Offshore Tax Dodging

According to Picking up the Tab: Small Businesses Pay the Price for Offshore Tax Havens, a new report by the Arizona PIRG Education Fund, the average Arizona small business owner would have to pay an extra $2,213 in taxes to make up for the money lost in 2014 due to offshore tax haven abuse by large multinational corporations. 

Report | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Following the Money 2015

Every year, state governments spend hundreds of billions of dollars through contracts for goods and services, subsidies to encourage economic development, and other expenditures. Accountability and public scrutiny are necessary to ensure that the public can trust that state funds are spent as well as possible.

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

As part of Sunshine Week, Arizona Receives "B" in Annual Report on Transparency of Government Spending

Arizona received a “B” when it comes to government spending transparency, according to the Arizona PIRG Education Fund’s annual report “Following the Money 2015: How the 50 States Rate in Providing Online Access to Government Spending Data.”

News Release | Arizona PIRG Education Fund | Tax

Bank of America settlement loophole creates at least $4 billion burden for taxpayers

Taxpayers will shoulder anywhere from $4 to $5.8 billion of today’s $16.65 billion Bank of America settlement with the U.S. Justice Department. The settlement, which releases the bank from charges of alleged illegal activity related to mortgage activities, specifically refuses to stop Bank of America from writing the settlement off as a tax break — which means much of the settlement cost will ultimately be shouldered by U.S. taxpayers.

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