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Report | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

A New Direction

The Driving Boom—a six decade-long period of steady increases in per-capita driving in the United States—is over.  Americans drive fewer total miles today than we did eight years ago, and fewer per person than we did at the end of Bill Clinton’s first term. The unique combina­tion of conditions that fueled the Driving Boom—from cheap gas prices to the rapid expansion of the workforce during the Baby Boom generation—no longer exists.

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News Release | WISPIRG Foundation | Transportation

New Report: Reduction in Driving Likely to Continue

As the average number of miles driven by Americans heads into its eighth year of decline, a new report from the WISPIRG Foundation finds that the slowdown in driving is likely to continue. Baby Boomers are moving out of the phase in their life when they do the most commuting, while driving-averse Millennials move into that phase. These demographic changes will likely keep driving down for decades, according to the report, “A New Direction: Our Changing Relationship with Driving and the Implications for America’s Future.”
 

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Report | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

The Rent-to-Own Rip-off

The 2013-2015 biennial executive budget, proposed by Governor Walker, includes an exemption for the rent-to-own industry from Wisconsin’s consumer protection laws. Rent-to-own businesses are appliance and furniture retailers that arrange “lease agreements,” rather than typical installment or credit sales contracts. These leases are regulated as a form of credit because the consumer is buying a product over time and paying a very high premium over the product’s sale price.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Consumer Protection

Survey Finds Astronomical Rent-to-Own Prices, Interest Rates

A new report found that five rent-to-own stores in Rockford, IL on average charged an annual percentage rate of 221% and displayed outright cash purchase prices as much as two to seven times the cost of the same or similar products at other major retailers. The legislature is currently debating a controversial proposal in the executive budget proposal to provide a special exemption from the Wisconsin Consumer Act for the rent to own industry and which would eliminate the requirement to disclose an APR for Rent-to-Own products sold in Wisconsin.
 

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Media Hit | Transportation

State needs to build better transportation budget

The state needs a better transportation budget.  . . . .  One promising idea is a proposal from 1000 Friends of Wisconsin, WISPIRG and the state chapter of the Sierra Club to cut 10% from highway spending. The money would be used "to reduce bonding by $200 million, increase local road reimbursements by $82 million, and increase transit funding $21 million (a 10% increase in local road reimbursement and transit funding)," according to a news release the group issued last week.
 

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

Small Business Owners Reach Out to Congress to Support Health Reform

Yesterday, local business owners called their Representatives and Senators to urge them to support legislation that cuts costs, stops insurance companies from discriminating against people with pre-existing conditions and gives people the option of a public plan. In the first day of calling nearly 400 calls were generated by small businesses nationwide and 50 calls in Wisconsin.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

Amid Bad Economy, Rising Health Care Premiums Slam Consumers, Small Businesses

Even as Americans struggle with a recession and the highest unemployment rate since 1983, health insurance companies have jacked up their premiums again.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

Health Care Reformers Unveil “Health Care Harry”

Passersby in La Crosse’s Burns Park were greeted on Friday by an old childhood friend with a whole new set of maladies. Health Care Harry, an eight-foot tall interactive character based on the Operation game’s “Cavity Sam” stood at Burns Park as health care advocates called for reform. Harry was subject to a number of serious “operations” as locals used giant tweezers to discover what was ailing him – and our whole health care system.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

New Report: Health Care Reform Can Save Wisconsin $54.5 Billion

Health care reform might cost $1 trillion, but it can ultimately save the nation $3 trillion, with billions of dollars of benefits for every state in the union, including $54.5 billion in Wisconsin, a new report released today by the Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group notes.

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News Release | WISPIRG | Health Care

Survey: Wisconsin Small Businesses Crushed by Rising Health Costs

Wisconsin small business owners are being crushed by rising health care costs, and feel left out of the current health care debate in Washington, according to a new report released by Wisconsin Public Interest Research Group on Main Street, Madison today.

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