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

 

 

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!

Twenty-Four Hours Short


Senator Ernst:

Tell the President to honor the men and women who are helping all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic

Cancel the June 24th “hard stop” of deployments

                            (see the full statement below)

Here’s the statement:

As Americans pause to remember our fallen service members this Memorial Day weekend, the Trump administration is working to end National Guard deployments just 24 hours shy of service members becoming eligible for key federal benefits.

The Trump administration was planning to have this unconscionable act fly under the radar.  They have no problem using our tax dollars to provide huge tax breaks to their wealthy friends and donors. Or bailing out big corporations. But for our members of the Iowa National Guard, who are just as essential as our frontline workers and first responders, key benefits are just another crucial item on Trump’s chopping block during this crisis. While others get to have a day off and enjoy the weekend, our service men and women will still be working to keep us safe even as they become yet another group to be dealt a blow by Trump’s economic policies.

Veterans are disproportionately impacted by the effects of coronavirus, and veterans are facing rising case numbers in veteran and nursing homes. Trump’s botched response and our elected officials’ failure to fight for all of our Iowans does not help. This Memorial Day, we see Trump vowing to block aid to essential workers and prioritize yet another bailout for the wealthy. As a veteran herself, Joni Ernst must fight for Iowa’s essential workers in uniform, instead of denying Iowans key benefits during this crisis.

Already, due to the CARES Act, an estimated 43,000 millionaires will receive an average tax cut of more than $1.6 million thanks to changes in the coronavirus stimulus bill. The changes allow all businesses with net losses in 2018, 2019 or 2020 to seek refunds on previously paid income taxes, among other similar reforms. While the changes will provide some relief to smaller businesses, most of the benefits will flow to wealthy business owners and partners, at great expense to the federal government. 

By adding provisions into the CARES Act that benefit the richest Americans, while small business owners and everyday Americans continue to struggle in the face of this pandemic, Trump and his allies make their priorities clear. And now, the Trump Administration is planning to end National Guard deployments with one day to spare in order to keep from giving them the benefits they deserve.

Hundreds of Iowa National Guard soldiers have been called to active duty to help in the Iowa’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, joining over 50,000 National Guard members currently deployed. Now, Senator Ernst must look out for us and demand that the president cancel the planned  “hard stop” on deployments on June 24. Writing a letter to the President asking for an extension is a nice gesture, but during this time of crisis our soldiers need more than half measures. They need a voice in Congress and as a veteran, Joni Ernst needs to use hers.

Here’s a little bit of what our service members will be denied

  • Qualifying for early retirement: for every 90 days served in a federal emergency, Guard members are able to speed up retirement by 3 months.
  • Education benefits under the Post-9/11 GI Bill that helps pay for tuition, fees, housing and supplies.

And here’s how it will affect all of us: Terminating federal deployments early in the summer just as states are reopening could contribute to a possible second wave of infection. When you factor in the required two week quarantine before returning to civilian life, these front-line soldiers would need to stop their work in early June, long before we can afford to lose their help.

As Senator Ernst said, “whether it’s delivering personal protective equipment, food, or medical supplies, our National Guardsmen and women have answered the call to help during COVID-19.”

Where is Senator Ernst when all of our essential workers need support? She needs to remember what it means to answer the call and use her influence to honor the men and women who are helping all Americans during the COVID-19 pandemic. Stand up for the economic interests of all Iowans, not Trump’s wealthy friends by extending deployment for our frontline workers.

HARKIN TELE-TOWN HALL AUDIO

You can listen to a recording of the call here

 SENATOR TOM HARKIN AND IOWA LOWER DRUG PRICES DEMAND NO PANDEMIC PROFITEERING FROM DRUG CORPORATIONS

Leaders Urge Congress To Take Action In Next Relief Bill To Ensure Drug Companies Can’t Exploit This Crisis

Senator Tom Harkin joined Lower Drug Prices Now, local groups and Iowans directly impacted by COVID-19, for a tele-town hall last week to urge Congress to take action to prevent pandemic profiteering by drug companies charged with developing COVID treatments and vaccines. Over 1,000 Iowans participated in the call.

You can listen to a recording of the call here.

Speakers included (in order)

  • Sue Dinsdale, Moderator
  • Senator Tom Harkin, Keynote
  • Margarida Jorge, National Director Lower Drug Prices Now
  • Representative Timi Brown-Powers, State Rep and frontline health care worker
  • Midge Slater, Iowa Retiree

Comments/Questions:

  • Matt Sinovic, Progress Iowa
  • Abraham Funchess, Waterloo
  • Chris Schwartz, Black Hawk County Supervisor

Congress has already given billions in taxpayer dollars to cover the research, development and manufacturing of promising coronavirus treatments. Despite the investment of public funds, Americans and communities across the globe have received no commitment from the Trump Administration and Congress that a COVID-19 vaccine and other treatments will be affordable to all.

The tele-town hall focused on actions Congress can take today to rein in the big drug corporations, ensure all people have access to affordable vaccines and treatment, and better combat coronavirus in our communities.

Groups joining the call included: Lower Drug Prices Now Iowa, Iowa Citizen Action Network and Iowa Alliance for Retired Americans.

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Cosponsors of Iowa Lower Drug Prices Now include: Cosponsors include: AFSCME Council 61; Americans for Democratic Action-Iowa; Des Moines Firefighters; Indivisible Iowa; Iowa Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO; Iowa Main Street Alliance; Iowa State Education Association; Iowa Voices; National Association of Social Workers-Iowa; Progress Iowa; Protect Our Care; Tax March Iowa.

Lower Drug Prices Now is a national coalition of nearly 60 social, racial and economic justice organizations with members in all fifty states. We are committed to transformative, systemic and bold reforms to ensure everyone has access to affordable medicines — no matter where they live, what they look like or how much money they have. Learn more at www.lowerdrugpricesnow.org and follow us on Twitter @peopleb4pharma.

 

 

 

JOIN US TODAY, April 21 at 6 pm!

Stay up to date by following our Facebook Page: Iowa Lower Drug Prices Now

Congress needs to take immediate action to ensure the pharaceutical corporations charged with developing treatments for coronavirus won’t be able to price gouge patients for life-saving medicines.  Coronavirus treatments and vaccines being developed using taxpayer dollars MUST be provided at no cost to Americans.

The healthcare, grocery, delivery, restaurant, public safety and all of the other essential workers who are risking their lives on the front line should never have to choose between paying for rent or paying for medicine.

We will hear from our keynote speaker Senator Tom Harkin, a front-line health care worker, a retiree, the director of Lower Drug Prices Now and others.

We demand that Congress not allow Big Pharma to profiteer off the pandemic.

Join the call!

(866) 976-7785 on Tuesday, April 21 at 6:00 pm central time

Have a question or comment?  Register below!

Stay up to date by following our Facebook Page: Iowa Lower Drug Prices Now

 

Pandemic Response with Iowa Small Business Owners and Representative Axne

Listen to the full recording of the conversation here

Tax March Iowa Holds Conversation with Representative Cindy Axne, Small Business Owners/Farmers 

IOWA — Today, Tax March Iowa hosted a press call with Rep. Cindy Axne (IA-03) and various small business owners and family farmers in Iowa who are struggling to keep their businesses and families afloat during the coronavirus pandemic because of the Trump administration and Congressional Republicans’ failure to prioritize people over corporations.

Iowa’s small business owners are being hit hard by the economic impacts of coronavirus. Here in Iowa, where 99 percent of Iowa’s businesses are small businesses, both owners and employees’ livelihoods are at risk. Farmers and small business owners on today’s call spoke about the need for elected officials, especially Sens. Ernst and Grassley (IA-R), to fight for policies that support small businesses during this pandemic.

Listen to the full recording of the conversation here.

“We understand that there are holes in the system, and it can be a daunting process to work through if you aren’t familiar with it, but the House Democrats have your backs and we are trying to help those folks who are on this call, not just the businesses who already have support,” said Rep. Cindy Axne. “We are trying to save small businesses and get money in people’s pockets.”

“About 5 years ago, I bought the community bowling center. This has been a dream of mine since I was a little kid who went bowling here. It has been hard since 80 percent of my business has been closed due to being a social gathering center, which I support. But, like a lot of us small businesses, we just don’t have the savings to keep us opened,” said Adel Family Fun Center-owner Bryce Smith. “We have shifted to take-out orders to bring something in, but this only helps with about 20% of our normal revenue.”

“We have closed all of our stores. We have gone from being a company that went from about 70% in store, to trying to do it all online. There is so much you can say about this time, but who knows where we will be in 6-10 weeks once the PPP loans run out,” said Raygun-owner Mike Draper. “When is the demand going to come back? People aren’t going to go shopping until they feel comfortable going out. Until we ramp up testing, there isn’t much we can do to ramp demand back up. We should be able to maintain business operations for the next few weeks or months, but who knows after that?”

“AdCraft is a 57 year old company in Cedar Rapids. We are still open, but our business is about a third of what it normally is. We are supposed to get PPP help tomorrow, but it is not going to fill in the whole bucket,” said Shawn Gallagher, owner of AdCraft Printing. “We need to ensure small business loans and additional help continue, because the economy isn’t going to just kick back into gear after six to ten weeks.”

“I have been a family farmer my whole life. Sole proprietor loans are an option for me, but because of all the issues I faced with my farm last year, I didn’t show a profit last year and you need to show a profit to get a sole proprietor loan,” said family farmer Chris Petersen. “It’s been three weeks without having a paycheck, so things have been kind of tight. I have been doing contracting work on the side, but God knows where that’s going to end up.”

To set up interviews with Tax March Iowa spokespeople and partners, please email sdinsdale@iowacan.org.

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