We’re Going to the Progress Iowa Corn Feed

Headed to the Progress Iowa Corn Feed in Cedar Rapids this Sunday, July 14? Iowa Citizen Action Network will be there highlighting our TAX MARCH IOWA project!

Doors open at noon at Newbo City Market, 1100 3rd St SE, Cedar Rapids, IA 52401.

We’ll be hearing from Congresswoman Abby Finkenaur, State Auditor Rob Sand and many of the Democratic Presidential Candidates!

Lots of our friends and allies will be there with activities for all ages!

And the best part is… IT’S FREE!

Look for the gigantic Trump Chicken… that’s where you’ll find us!  We’ll have a photo area set up with lots of props and other fun “corny” games for the family!

Hope to see you there!

Sue Dinsdale // sdinsdale@iowacan.org

Tax the Rich Bus Tour

Tuesday, July 23, 2019–1pm to 4 pm

The Tax The Rich Tour is coming to Iowa to demand the rich pay their fair share, join us in demanding tax and economic justice!

For additional details stay tuned to the Events Section of our  facebook page.

  Hosted by Tax March and Tax March Iowa

ICAN 40th Anniversary

 

40th Anniversary Celebration

Embrace the Past… Celebrate the Present… Dream for the Future

Join us as we commemorate 40 years of activism with Iowa Citizen Action Network

May 30, 2019 5 pm Happy Hour 6 pm Program

Holiday Inn Downtown 1050 6th Street Des Moines, Iowa 50314

It’s our Ruby Anniversary!

Click here to get tickets or to be a sponsor

If you are an organization that needs reservations for a display table click here

Our Confirmed Guest Speakers include:

  • John “Skip” Laitner: Skip is a founding member of  Iowa Citizen-Labor Energy Coalition which became ICAN. He was a senior economist for the EPA, he now leads a sustainable energy policy team, Economic and Human Dimensions Research Associates, based in Tucson. He travels the globe speaking on energy and climate policy.
  • J.D. Scholten: J.D. is defined by his Iowa values. After nearly unseating Steve King in 2018, J.D. is now director of Working Hero Iowa, helping promote the Earned Income Tax Credit to assist low-income Iowans. He believes that hard work, civility and community are the values we should all aspire to, and he is committed to living those values
  • Heather Booth: Heather founded and was director of Citizen-Labor Energy Coalition. She is a civil rights activist, feminist, and strategist who has been involved in activism for progressive causes. She is featured in a documentary:  Heather Booth: Changing the World. (via video call)
  • Rob Sand: Rob was elected as Iowa’s State Auditor in 2018 where he serves as our “taxpayers watchdog.” He formerly was a part of the Area Prosecutions Division, becoming the first ever Assistant Attorney General focused on prosecuting financial crime. No one else has prosecuted more of Iowa’s public corruption or major financial crime over the last decade.
  • Maura Quint: Maura helped found and currently serves as the Executive Director of Tax March. An advocate for economic justice and a fair tax code, she works with activists across the country to help shape narratives and raise voices. She has appeared as a guest on shows including On the Media, MSNBC and Pitchfork Economics.

Featuring a special appearance by The Trump Chicken launching our program to secure the future: Tax March Iowa

 

 

Iowans Can’t Afford To Wait As Payroll Protection Program Expires

Support for Small Businesses and the Unemployed Will Help the Economy Recover

Congress created the Paycheck Protection Program as a way to provide relief to small businesses impacted during the COVID 19 crisis. The $2.2 trillion relief package was signed in March, and at the end of June, the PPP was extended again until August 8. This program was designed to help small businesses with fewer than 500 employees cover payroll expenses and overhead costs during the economic decline caused by the COVID shutdown. More than 4.8 million small business owners have utilized the program.

“PPP has made [small businesses] able to stay afloat. If Congress can give trillion dollar tax cuts to the rich, they can certainly put some money into our economy,” said small business owner Shawn Gallagher of Cedar Rapids. “The UI benefits are huge and we need to keep that money coming. It takes the pressure off business owners to carry our economy, it’s not our responsibility-it’s time for Congress to take responsibility. It’s criminal that they can take a recess when these plans have not been worked out-but it doesn’t affect them.”

Karen Kubby small business owner Iowa City PPP funds need to be targeted to medium and small businesses, not large corporations; they have CEOs who have salaries who are padded. The next round should target women and Black and Immigrant owned businesses, recognizing that these groups don’t have as many traditional banking relationships.”

The first round of PPP worked. PPP funds need to go to small businesses, but rich people and corporations are always going to get richer. We need to make sure we keep moving forward – something needs to happen. The more we bog down, people will lose any hope they might have. Mike Draper small business owner.

The PPP expired August 8, and Congress has not acted to extend the benefits to small business owners. Iowa Workforce Development reports 4,662 Iowans filed initial unemployment claims between October 11 and October 17. That number is up by 470 from the previous reporting period.  Continuing weekly unemployment claims totaled 41,967. At a time when a record number of Americans are impacted by the COVID crisis, small business owners cannot afford to wait.

The Ballots are Coming! The Ballots are Coming!

Are YOU ready to vote? The Secretary of State’s office has a website that can answer many VOTER READY IOWA questions! There are a record number of Iowans planning to take advantage of early voting this year as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Early voting has begun, and we can vote early by mail or in person or waiting and going to the polls on Nov. 3.

Here are some things to know:

Are you registered? You can check on the Secretary of State’s website.

In order to receive an absentee ballot, voters must make sure their county auditor receives their request by 5 p.m. on Oct. 24, 10 days before the election. So if you plan to vote by mail request that ballot as soon as possible! And don’t worry if you have received several ballot request forms this year from various entities –the Secretary of State says you will only receive ONE ballot even if you accidentally mail in more than one form.

To be counted, an absentee ballot must be received by the county auditor by the time polls close on Election Day or be postmarked by the day before the election and received by the auditor by noon on the Monday following the election. Election officials are encouraging Iowans to return their ballots as soon as they make up their minds about who to vote for.

Have an absentee ballot but don’t want to mail it? You can take it to your county auditor’s office and hand-deliver it.

Want to track your own ballot? Once you have made your request you can go to sos.iowa.gov/elections/absenteeballotstatus and enter your information to check on it!

Iowa is experienced with absentee voting – Iowans should be confident every vote will be counted.

Keep in mind that election night results are not official until a canvass is conducted the week after the election.

Some things to remember:

Read and follow the instructions!

Sign the outer affidavit envelope. Failure to do so will cause the ballot to be rejected.

Place the absentee ballot in the included secrecy envelope before putting it in the outer envelope and mailing it to your auditor.

If you make a mistake on your absentee ballot – contact your county auditor! Iowa law has procedures for “spoiling” mailed absentee ballots and obtaining a replacement.

Who’s on the ballot, anyway?

On the front of Iowans’ ballots will be races for: President and vice president; U.S. Senate; U.S. House; All 100 of Iowa’s state representatives and half of the 50 state senators; County offices like sheriff, county attorney, auditor, treasurer and recorder; Nonpartisan offices like hospital trustees and county agricultural extension council.

On the back of Iowans’ two-sided ballots will be four Iowa Supreme Court justices and a number of judges facing retention elections.  Iowans also will vote on whether Iowa should hold a constitutional convention to propose amendments to the state’s constitution — a measure that is required by law to be placed on the ballot every decade.

Still have some questions or need some help! Feel free to contact us at sdinsdale@iowacan.org and we will answer your questions!

As always, thank you for your support and activism! –Sue

Know the Issues Before You Vote

Paid Leave for All

Iowans are facing impossible choices, forcing us to choose between job and family. If COVID-19 has taught us anything it’s that paid leave goes beyond helping families and saving lives. It bolsters the economy by helping employers retain their workers and stay afloat while doing so. It has shown us that paid leave needs to extend to ALL employers – that those with over 500 employees must be included so that all workers receive this benefit, not be left to the discretion of the big companies.

Check out our video conversation on Paid Leave For All with State Representative Lindsay James and Amy Adams!

COVID has also shown us that small employers cannot do it on their own..

We know we need a common-sense solution to address the paid leave crisis – a solution that extends beyond the December 31, 2020 expiration of the FFCRA. We know we need a national paid leave plan that covers all Americans.

Thanks for checking out our video. We will be sending additional conversations in the coming days.

If you haven’t already, be sure to VOTE in this election. The issues we are facing are so important to each and every one of us.

We are collecting stories to show the importance of Paid Leave legislation that goes beyond pandemic relief. Will you share your story?
We want to hear what meaningful paid leave legislation would mean to you or someone you know?
Click HERE to sign up or reply to this email!
We’ll send a Paid Leave For All Shirt, mask, button or sticker and work with you to either do a photo and your story or record a short video!

We have a limited number of shirts so act fast to get one right away!

Thanks for your continued support.  Feel free to forward this email to anyone who would be interested! And let us know if you have any questions! — Sue // sdinsdale@iowacan.org

 

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On The Issues- Know Before You Vote

Market vs. Economy

Iowa Citizen Action Network, along with our allies and partners, has put together a series of videos: On The Issues – Know Before You Vote. This installment is about the Market vs. the Economy.

There is a common misconception that the Market and the Economy are one and the same, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.

Click HERE to watch a conversation with ReShonda Young of Waterloo, a small business owner and financial planner, explaning the difference.

To try and simplify the difference between the Market and the Economy, we look at it like this:

The stock market  is largely made up of corporations which are much different than the small businesses, workers and cities in the U.S. In the market, it’s all about profits for stockholders.

The economy is more about small business owners, workers and consumers. There is a cycle when production and consumption increases: to produce more goods, companies and factories might hire more employees to complete such production. With more individuals employed and gathering paychecks, more people have money to spend on such goods – increasing overall consumption.

The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the disconnect.  For decades, the market has been growing increasingly detached from the mainstream of American life. Wall Street has very little to do with Main Street. And now with the economic fallout of the pandemic any illusion that the market is the economy is even more pronounced.

The Market basically sees rich people getting richer; corporations making more money and politicians falling over themselves to keep that going.

The Economy is what we are living day-to-day. With job losses, businesses closing, racial inequality, the end of pandemic relief, etc.  Iowans and Americans are hurting and a rising stock market doesn’t mean a lot for our everyday lives.

Thanks for checking out our video. We will be sending additional conversations in the coming days.

If you haven’t already, be sure to VOTE in this election. The issues we are facing are so important to each and every one of us.

Thanks for your continued support.  Feel free to forward this email to anyone who would be interested! And let us know if you have any questions! — Sue // sdinsdale@iowacan.org

Pandemic Profiteering

 

How Pharma Insiders Are Using News of Government Awards & Trial Results to Boost Their Stock Prices Without a Vaccine.

The federal government is investing billions of dollars in the development of COVID-19 vaccines and treatments, with little assurance that these medicines will be affordable or available to the millions of people who need them. Despite polling that demonstrates that the public is extremely concerned about drug corporations price gouging on COVID-19 medicines, neither the Trump administration nor Congress has taken meaningful action to limit drug corporations’ monopoly control over prices, to increase transparency for corporations or to guarantee affordability for patients.

While taxpayers have not yet seen much benefit from their investments, some corporate insiders and speculators are profiting handsomely from temporary surges in stock prices that offer short-term rewards—whether or not a vaccine or medicine ultimately materializes.

Rather than learning hard lessons from the opioid pandemic and other past crises, drug corporations are doubling down on reckless, short-sighted schemes for quick money rather than considering the long-term implications for investors, the reputational risks, and the impacts on public health.

From January to August, the stock market value for the eight biotech companies on the S&P 500 grew by $130  billion. During the same period, executives and insiders from just three of these companies — Moderna, Inovio and Vaxart — made at least $370 million in sales of company stocks inflated by news of government awards and trial results.3 These findings show that company executives and insiders are profiteering from the pandemic, without any guarantee of a vaccine.

Large institutional investors are increasingly concerned about the high-risk business practices of the pharmaceutical sector that invite scrutiny, investigation, legal interventions and increased regulations. Share spikes tied to government funding of COVID-19 medicines have already attracted Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) attention. The presence of industry insiders in positions of influence in the Trump administration raises a myriad of questions about whether investments in COVID-19 medicines serve public or private interests.

This report traces how massive public investments into the research and development of COVID-19 medicines and vaccines increase wealth for industry insiders, short-term speculators, and President Trump’s political allies, while providing no guarantee of a safe, affordable treatment that serves public health needs.

Click on Pandemic Profiteering to read the full report.

Neither Snow Nor Rain….

The United States Postal Service is under attack, from the very Postmaster General who is running it!

We’re sending a letter to Senators Grassley and Ernst telling them exactly what the postal service means to Iowans and we’d love to have your input!

Please fill out the form below and we’ll send all of the messages we received to our Members of Congress!

Iowans for a Safer Return to Learning

Who We Are: We are education and community organizations representing thousands of concerned Iowans.  We stand together with the expectation that Governor Reynolds listen to educators, health experts, and scientists when it comes to reopening our schools. Participating groups include: Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, Drive for Lives, Iowa Educators for a Safe Return to Learning, Iowa Citizen Action Network, Iowa State Education Association, Des Moines Education Association, Iowans for Public Education,  Iowa Citizens for Community Improvement,  Western Iowa Labor Federation

What We Stand For: The premise is simple, prioritize the health and safety of our K-12 students and families, educators, school employees, indeed all Iowans.  We expect a reasonable response from Governor Reynolds.

How Can We Accomplish our Goals: CITIZEN ADVOCACY – Join Us!  There is strength in numbers!  Fill out the form below!

Here’s is what we are asking for:

  • Rescind the July 17th Proclamation: recognize that every school district is unique and that individual school boards, administrators, educators and school employees should have the ability to work together with public health officials to implement a plan for each school setting. We support the School Boards who have taken strong stands for safety.
  • Mandate a state-wide mask requirement: epidemiologists, public health officials and scientific research have concurred that masks are one of the simplest, most effective ways to stop the virus from spreading. Mandating face coverings would be an effective tool in stopping the spread of COVID-19 and ensuring the educational and economic success of Iowans.
  • Expand safety-nets for vulnerable K-12 students, families, and workers : knowing that COVID-19 disproportionally affects marginalized groups, we call for systemic solutions to address issues of race and class when returning to learning. Iowa must commit funds and pass policies to keep vulnerable people and front-line school staff safe. This would include: paid sick leave, personal protective equipment, face coverings/masks, expand and enhance unemployment insurance and provide incentives to enable employees to work from home. 
  • Protect teacher and support staff rights: unregulated and uncoordinated re-openings in states and particularly in schools, have been an unmitigated disaster.  There must be a systemic approach using real-time data and science.  Workers must be provided guidelines outlining their rights including laws requiring employers to provide safe and healthy workplaces and legal protections.

 

Iowa Citizen Action Network and Tax March Iowa Respond to Ernst/Reynolds/Grassley Town Hall

Elected Officials Need to Listen to Iowans

Tune in HERE

Des Moines, Iowa — This evening, with more than 700 Iowans lost to coronavirus and close to 30,000 Iowans having tested positive for the virus, Sen. Joni Ernst (R-IA) will be joined by Gov. Kim Reynolds and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-IA) for a self-congratulatory tele-town hall to “discuss their support for Iowans and their families as the state works to safely reopen.”

Everyday Iowans, who bear the dire consequences of this trifecta’s politicking, can watch the town hall and submit a question through a form.

We know Ernst, Reynolds and Grassley won’t talk about real issues facing Iowans right now. But, we need them to.

Real issues demand real support from our leaders. And if these three leaders wanted to actually support us, they would:

  • Resume regular briefings from the Governor on the status of Iowa during the Pandemic. Iowans deserve to hear from their elected officials, particularly during this unprecedented pandemic.
  • Push back on the Iowa “COVID-19 Response and Back to Business Limited Liability Act” requiring that any claims of exposure to the virus meet a standard of “reckless disregard” or “actual malice” so that employers are not held liable for any injuries sustained from exposure or potential exposure to COVID-19. This is a slap in the face to workers who deserve protection and have the right to refuse work if protection is not sufficient.
  • Work non-stop during this crisis in employment, elected officials should be working to extend the additional $600 Federal Pandemic Unemployment Compensation past the end of July. Iowans are hurting and in these uncertain times they are relying on this program. Initial unemployment claims were reported Thursday, June 25 to have reached a total of 351,272 over 13 weeks. Senator Ernst along with Republicans in Congress have failed to extend this essential program.
  • Focus on reliable, accurate and responsive COVID-19 testing. The process in Iowa seems to work for a select few, not for workers. The $26 million dollar no-bid contract for TestIowa has produced abysmal results. Iowans are being told their tests are unusable or damaged and results are taking days, sometimes weeks to be reported.
  • Work with the CDC to implement safe reopening guidelines for Iowa. Since the Governor has loosened restrictions Iowans have seen case counts climb, businesses being forced to close their doors again, school districts in limbo with no clear plan for the fall and a failure to lead from our Governor and Senators.

Real support would be working on fixing what’s broken, supporting, representing and protecting Iowans.

Real support would be an assessment of public policies and who they put at risk and who is rewarded.

Real support does not include congratulating each other on the questionable response to this pandemic.

Iowans deserve better than a lip-service town hall. We deserve real support.

The Whole World Is Watching

Iowa Citizen Action Network stands in solidarity with the thousands of protestors across our state and country in response to the murder of George Floyd and the other victims of publicly sanctioned racist murder in our nation.

We demand justice for George Floyd and the countless others.  

The whole world is watching, and we have a choice. We can choose to continue down the path that leads to more pain, death and trauma or we can choose something different.  We can choose justice.  Justice that would start with a massive shift in resources away from the publicly funded oppression of Black people, poor people, the Latinx community, and many others and instead investment in our communities and a humane, anti-racist, and just system of public safety.

In order to heal we need to change the structural racism that is at the very core of the American criminal justice system.  In Iowa, less than 4 percent of Iowa’s population is African-American, but 25.4 percent of the state’s prison inmates are black.

We need our leaders at the local, county, state, and federal level to come together and demand change.  We need them to denounce the divisive rhetoric, the use of military force, the inciting of violence and the chaos created by the President.

Iowa Citizen Action Network’s vision is that of an informed citizenry where there is social, racial, economic and environmental justice for all; all citizens are cared for and respected; and policies and decisions are responsible to future generations. Public resources are committed to working for the public good, and community interests are valued over narrow economic interests.

In order to live up to our vision, we must keep working. Working to rebuild and recreate systems in a way that provides safety, economic security, justice, and health for all.

The struggle, anger and sadness in our state and nation is borne from love for each other.  So we will keep fighting, protesting, and organizing because we know a better world is possible. We know it in our hearts. We see it in our dreams.

Add your name!