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By The Numbers

Preying on the disadvantaged

Janet Nguyen Apr 15, 2016

Rejoice: Tax day is not today, but it is on Monday. Here are some need-to-know numbers for your Friday. 

Because of its financial woes, Puerto Rico has a host of issues with all aspects of island life: education, health care, and pensions. In the fifth installment of our series on Puerto Rico’s debt crisis, we take a look at the possibility that the commonwealth may not be able to pay its residents their retirement money.  Two of the main public employee pensions — Teachers Retirement System and Employees Retirement System  are supposed to pay out $40 billion, but they have less than $2 billion in assets. “An aging population and dwindling tax base don’t bode well for an island already $72 billion in debt,” writes Marketplace’s Andy Uhler.

On the mainland, tax day is arriving upon us soon (Monday for most of us, and Tuesday for residents in Massachusetts and Maine). A new study has found that tax preparation companies are taking advantage of poor people who receive the Earned Income Tax Credit. Marketplace’s Mark Garrison reports that while the program “shaves the tax bills of nearly 28 million Americans,” the Progressive Policy Institute says that tax preparers end up with an “alarming amount” of that refund money.

While tax day has changed this year for us, it’s still an important payout date for tobacco companies. The industry has to make yearly payments to state governments due to a settlement reached in 1998. But while those funds are supposed to go toward “anti-smoking campaigns and public health programs” Marketplace’s Jed Kim reported that the settlement never officially stipulated where they should go. As a result, many are criticizing where that money is going.

 

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