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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Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/taxmarchiowa/

Twitter: https://twitter.com/TaxMarchIowa

How are you doing?

These are trying times for many of us. We get confusing messages, many of us are isolated in our homes, unable to be with our family and friends.  It’s not easy to get the things we need and, even if we could, we’re not sure we should go out. It can all be frightening.

So, how are YOU doing?  We really want to know.  At ICAN we’ve been privileged to get to know so many of you during our 40+ years.

We want to give you a chance to reach out.  Do you have a story to tell?  A fear to voice? Things you need?  Let us know and we’ll do our best to help.

Most of all, we want you to take care of yourself during this time.

There are some bright moments as well.  We are seeing Iowans rallying around small business owners, utilizing their carry-out services and trying to support them as best we can.

We see employers working with their employees to make this situation a little more bearable.

We see neighbors reaching out to help each other.

We see a huge number of our school districts honoring their employees by continuing to pay them through their contracts.

We see social media posts of pets, dinners, kids, projects, garden plans and other things to make us smile.

Thanks for your support and sticking with us through the years!

Have a Heart Senator Ernst

Lower Drug Prices Now – Iowa is calling on Senator Ernst to “have a heart” and keep her promises to Iowans.

We know that no matter where people live, what they look like or what’s in their wallets, at some point everyone is going to get sick and need prescription medicines. Whether it’s a sore throat, high blood pressure or cancer, everyone needs affordable medicine to lead healthy lives.

While the President and Senator Joni Ernst keep claiming to care about this issue, neither one has taken real action. Rather than supporting the Administration, Senator Ernst needs to support Iowans and call for a vote on the Lower Drug Costs Act (HR 3) that passed in the House in December.  This bill would finally empower the federal government to negotiate for lower prices in Medicare and apply those lower prices to private insurance too for hundreds of drugs.

We are collecting prescription drug pricing comments and putting them on hearts to deliver to the Senator’s office on Valentine’s Day.

Tell us what YOU think!

 

Tax March Iowa Platform Resolution!

In advance of the Monday, February 3rd Iowa Caucuses, Tax March Iowa is offering caucus-goers a resolution to submit  for their party’s platform. At your caucus you will have the chance to shape the party platform… to include issues that are important to you.

One issue is calling for the repeal of the Trump Tax (Tax Cuts and Jobs Act).

Click on Tax March Iowa Platform Resolution for a printable version!

Two years ago Congress passed and the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The bill showered huge tax breaks on corporations and wealthy individuals, while doing little for most working families.

Whether the focus is on all Iowans, or just retirees, or small business owners, or farmers, or working families,  the picture remains the same: It doesn’t matter if you are a Republican or Democrat, the wealthiest get most of the benefits, while the lower-income half of the population is left with little.

REMEMBER: The more people who submit the resolution, the higher chance it has of getting into the Party Platform!

For more information about your precinct, click on the appropriate party and you will be directed to the caucus website:  Republican Caucus Details  and Democrats Caucus Info

Did you submit your TMI Resolution??

Lower Drug Prices NOW

Whether we are in a rural community or in the suburbs of one of Iowa’s great cities, more and more of us are unable to afford the medicines we need to manage our health.

Iowa Senator Joni Ernst keeps claiming to care about the high cost of prescription drugs, saying she is fighting for Iowans, but the reality is she has failed to take real action.

Prescription drug corporations are making huge profits, getting massive tax breaks under the Trump tax law and spending record amounts on lobbying to stop real reform.

Here at Lower Drug Prices Now we are fighting back.

And we invite YOU to join us by clicking HERE to sign up!

No one has prospered more under President Trump’s policies than the massive prescription drug corporations who have been padding their profits for years at the expense of patients and are now reaping even bigger rewards for it.

The President, after praising the Medicare negotiations bill — the Lower Drug Costs Act (HR 3) that passed in the House in December has now withdrawn his support. Rather than working to pass a bill that would finally empower the federal government to negotiate for lower prices in Medicare and apply those lower prices to private insurance for hundreds of drugs, he is again ignoring the issue.

Senator Mitch McConnell has refused to even hear the bill, declaring it “dead on arrival” before any debate started. If Senator Ernst really wanted to do something to lower drug prices and help Iowans, she would stand up for us instead of caving to Senator McConnell.

She would urge him and the President to support the bill and pass it into law instead of obstructing negotiations and expansions to Medicare.

Let’s join together and tell Senator Ernst that we are struggling with wages, the rising cost of healthcare and drug corporation price-gouging and we expect her to actually represent US.

If you’re going to your precinct caucus on February 3rd, here is a resolution you can submit: LPDN Resolution

Hamburger and Fries

Check out the NEW report: Aggravating Inequality

Two years ago this month, Congress passed and the President signed the Tax Cuts and Jobs Act (TCJA). The bill showered huge tax breaks on corporations and wealthy individuals, while doing little for most working families.

The bottom fifth of Iowa taxpayers gained on average about enough for a hamburger and fries once a month.

The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act of 2017 has been a major step backward, aggravating inequality rather than alleviating it. The law provides billions in tax cuts, heavily skewed to the richest Americans.

Whether the focus is on all Iowans, or just retirees, or small business owners, or farmers, or working families, the picture remains the same: The wealthiest get most of the benefits, while the lower-income half of the population is left with little.

Even the provision in the bill aimed at providing a boost to low-income neighborhoods will probably do little to help the poor while providing yet another way for those at the top to avoid taxes.

On this two-year anniversary of the bill, there is not much to celebrate for the majority of Iowans.

Do YOU want to send a message to Senator Ernst and other Members of Congress?

Go to: How’s That Tax Law Working for You!

Just fill out the form – we’ll do the rest!