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Patagonia Donates $10 Million Tax Break To Green Groups, Says Trump ‘Irresponsible’

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Patagonia said Wednesday it planned to donate $10 million to environmental causes, money the company saved due to President Donald Trump’s massive tax breaks for corporate America last year.

In an impassioned note, the clothing brand’s CEO, Rose Marcario, called the tax cuts “irresponsible” and slammed climate change denial at the highest levels of government as “just evil.” She said Patagonia had benefited enormously from the new tax plan, but noted that the company would dole out the funds to environmental defenders instead of reinvesting them into the business.

“We recognize that our planet is in peril,” Marcario said. “We are committing all $10 million to groups committed to protecting air, land and water and finding solutions to the climate crisis. We have always funded grassroots activism, and this $10 million will be on top of our ongoing 1% for the Planet giving.”

She continued: “Being a responsible company means paying your taxes in proportion to your success and supporting your state and federal governments, which in turn contribute to the health and well-being of civil society.”

The company has gone after the Trump administration before, using its website to fight for protected land and even suing the White House over national monument designations.

The latest action is a direct criticism of Trump’s massive, $1.5 trillion tax overhaul last year, which set the standard corporate tax rate at 21 percent, down dramatically from 35 percent. While Republicans touted the plan as a boon for the economy that would reduce the federal deficit, it has so far dramatically increased it instead.

At the same time, Trump and many in his administration have continued to attack the scientific consensus surrounding climate change and promised to roll back more environmental protections. In an interview with The Washington Post this week, the president said he was too intelligent to believe in climate change, even after the government published a sweeping, 1,656-page National Climate Assessment that found the U.S. had already dramatically warmed over the past century.

The report, compiled by 13 federal agencies and more than 300 researchers, warned the world could warm a further 3 to 9 degrees Fahrenheit by 2100, setting off a slew of devastating effects and possibly shaving 10 percent off the American economy, unless fossil fuel use is scaled back.

White House press secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders, however, attacked the conclusions, falsely saying they weren’t “based on facts” and “not data-driven.”

Patagonia’s Marcario rejected those denials in her note on Wednesday, saying the report painted the future in “stark terms.”

“The U.S. economy could lose hundreds of billions of dollars, and the climate crisis is already affecting all of us. Mega-fires. Toxic algae blooms. Deadly heat waves and deadly hurricanes,” she wrote. “Far too many have suffered the consequences of global warming in recent months, and the political response has so far been woefully inadequate — and the denial is just evil.”

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Ontario’s new automated speed enforcement explained

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(NC) To wage the war against speeding, many municipalities across Ontario have turned to automated speed enforcement. Most recently introduced in Toronto, speed cameras are a high-tech solution to reduce speeding and are considered one of the most effective ways to create safer roads and save lives.  

Recognizing police officers cannot catch all speeders, these cameras fill the gap, providing monitoring in specific locations around the clock. When a car’s speed is even one kilometre over the posted amount, it will take a picture of the offending vehicle’s license plate, using the captured photo as indisputable evidence. A ticket is then served to the vehicle’s owner, regardless of who was driving. 

With a focus on high-risk areas, Ontario’s automated speed enforcement cameras are located in two specific municipal areas: school and community safety zones. School zones are designated streets close to a school, featuring reduced speed limits as dictated by local bylaws. Community safety zones are high-risk corridors and intersections, subject to increased fines and penalties.  

While the Ontario Highway Traffic Act outlines the use of automated speed enforcement, municipalities can decide when and where to use cameras to curb speeding. The act does dictate financial penalties for speed violations captured with cameras, which vary depending on the number of kilometres caught over the speed limit.  

Speed enforcement is not new, but part of a broader, integrated road safety strategy that includes infrastructure improvements, awareness campaigns and new uses of technology. City officials hope for a halo effect, inspiring better driving behaviour across entire communities, not only in areas with cameras. A controversial topic, some critics take exception to speed cameras, labelling them as sneaky cash grabs for municipalities. Governments think the opposite. 

Safety advocate and auto insurance provider Onlia is hopeful that the cameras will provide drivers with a reminder to slow down, especially in high-risk areas like school and community safety zones.  

For those who obey the speed limit, automated speed enforcement shouldn’t change anything about your driving style, says Alex Kelly, Safety Ambassador at OnliaDrivers have fair warning as they approach areas with speed cameras, as mandatory signs provide reasonable notice of upcoming automated speed enforcement. Regardless of warnings, the best speed is the posted speed. 

You can start to understand your speeding style by downloading the insurance provider’s new safe driving app that coaches and rewards for you for safe driving habits.

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Online banking: How to protect yourself from fraud

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(NC) Since the start of the COVID-19 crisis, a growing number of consumers are regularly using mobile and online banking to paybill payments, transfer money and make purchases.

Although these tools can give you easy access to your personal finances on demand, there are also some risks involved. For instance, your banking information—such as your debit or credit card number, user name, or personal identification number (PIN)—could be stolen. If criminals have access to your online banking information, they can steal your money, which is why it’s so important to be  vigilant when you bank online.

Follow these tips to help protect your personal and banking information:

  • For your online bank accounts, use a strong password that can’t be easily guessed, and never share your user name or password with anyone.
  • Check your accounts regularly to make sure there are no transactions you didn’t make or authorize.
  • When making online purchases, never authorize a website to save your credit card information, password or other personal information. Giving websites this permission will save you some time the next time you access the site, but it poses a real threat if a hacker manages to access your information.

Most financial institutions have policies to protect you from transactions that you didn’t make.

However, you are responsible for protecting your online and mobile banking information. If you give your details to anyone—including your spouse or partner, a family member or a friend—your financial institution may hold you responsible for any unauthorized transactions in your account, and even strip you of protection from unauthorized transactions in the future.

If you suspect your information may have been compromised, change your passwords immediately, and check your account and credit card statements for anomalies and report any suspicious transactions to your financial institution.

The Financial Consumer Agency of Canada has created resources to help you protect your online banking information.

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Payday loans: Not the best way to borrow money

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(NC) Payday loans are a very expensive way to borrow money. Even if you’re struggling financially, think twice—and crunch the numbers—before getting this type of loan.

Depending on the rules in your province, payday lenders can charge fees of $15 to $25 per $100 that you borrow.

As an example, let’s say you borrow $300 for home repairs. The payday lender charges you $51 in fees, or $17 for every $100 borrowed. Your loan balance is therefore $351, which amounts to an interest rate of 442 per cent.

There can be serious consequences if you don’t repay your loan by the due date. These may include the following:

  • The payday lender may charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • Your financial institution may also charge you a fee if there isn’t enough money in your account.
  • The total amount that you owe, including the fees, continues to increase.

There are better options out there

Payday loans should be your last resort to borrow money. Consider cheaper ways of borrowing money, such as:

  • Cashing in vacation days or asking for a pay advance from your employer.
  • Getting a line of credit, a cash advance on a credit card or a personal loan from your financial institution.
  • Getting a loan from family or friends.

Before getting a payday loan and to avoid getting stuck in a debt trap, consider other, less expensive ways to borrow money.

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