Legislators try throwing yet another hurdle at families

Legislators should be making it easier — not harder — for struggling families to put food on the table and get the health care they need to survive this pandemic. But lawmakers yesterday advanced a bill that would increase the bureaucratic red tape families would have to navigate to keep their health insurance, food assistance and basic support — and increase costs to the state to do it.  


Capitol Hill poised to shortchange schools again

The school aid proposal in front of the Iowa Senate Wednesday continues Iowa's recent trend of funding schools at a level far below what they need to give every child a quality education. Average aid in the last decade is a third lower than the average in the previous decade. And because of COVID-related enrollment drops this year, funding for schools districts next year will in practice be even less — because school aid is based on the preceding year’s enrollment. Lawmakers should reject this harmful plan in favor of adequate funding that sets our students up for lifelong success.


Business tax credit giveaway continues unabated

The Iowa Department of Revenue last week released its annual report on the Research Activities Credit, Iowa’s largest business tax credit program. Companies received nearly $70 million from the RAC in 2020 — $41.2 million of it in the form of checks to companies that paid no income tax. Very large businesses took 73 percent of the total benefit.

At a time when the Iowa Legislature is again proposing to leave public schools with status quo funding, perhaps it's time for lawmakers to rein in the RAC — and instead invest in our state's families and communities.


Fixing the 'cliff effect' is only part of the solution

Lawmakers must also fix the child care assistance entrance

After years of education, lawmakers are understanding just how stretched working families are — and how essential reliable child care so they go to work and get ahead. A proposal to keep chipping away at the "cliff effect," the penalty that happens when a parent accepts even a small raise and then loses all their child care assistance — is working its way through the legislature. 

But HF 302 really only solves part of the problems with Iowa’s Child Care Assistance program. CCA still excludes many families who need help paying for care. A family can get help through CCA as long as their income when they first apply is below 145 percent of the federal poverty level, or $31,842 annually for a family of three. That’s among the lowest entrance eligibility limits in the U.S. — and far below what it takes to afford quality care without help. Now we need lawmakers to increase the CCA entrance eligibility threshold. Read our brief.


Senate bill would deal yet another blow to jobless Iowans

In a public health emergency and economic downturn, unemployment benefits are a lifeline for many Iowa families struggling to stay afloat. But some lawmakers are trying to gut benefits as if our economy has returned to its pre-Covid condition. SSB 1172 is fundamentally flawed; it would cut benefits, add a one-week waiting period and strike a 13-week extension for jobless Iowans — a harmful proposal given an additional 6,200 Iowans filed for unemployment just last week. The Legislature should support, not abandon, Iowans facing job loss and economic hardship. Read more. 


Your voice makes a difference

The pandemic has made advocating directly with lawmakers more difficult, but not impossible. And it's made the voices of individual Iowans even more important. Not sure who represents you? Check out our lawmaker lookup tool to get the details — including contact information  on your legislators. Find out who represents you


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