My Point of View
on Key Issues
Repeal Right to Work
Iowa, under Republican leadership, has turned its back on working families by denying them the right to contest working conditions and wages. It's time to end "Right to Work" and create better opportunities for hard-working Iowans by enacting legislation that points to "Just Employment".
Just Employment means that your boss can't simply fire you without cause. It levels the field when it comes to employment.
Let me give you an example: I know a woman who worked for an employer for over a decade and was considered a "model employee" according to the many public comments from the company owner. While she loved her job and the people she worked with, her pay was not keeping up with the cost of living. She decided to look for another job. Her employer learned of this and fired her. Not one bad review. No warning. Fired.
That's not an Iowa value to be proud of. But that is the Iowa you've been given under the leadership of people like Republican Chuck Schneider the current Iowa Senate President. When it comes to carrying the water for corporations, Chuck is first in line to sprinkle tax cuts and benefits that fall to the already rich and powerful.
When cities and counties in Iowa wished to invoke local control and raise wages it was Chuck who squashed "home rule" banning the practice of increasing the slave wage of $7.25 an hour. Really Chuck? Do you have that little regard for the working families in our state?
Iowa families deserve better than this. Iowa families deserve a place at the table not relegated to sitting on the floor waiting for crumbs to drop.
You can make a difference.
There is an election coming in November of 2020 and you can help change the direction of this state and stand with the hard-working families who deserve better.
Over the past several weeks I've been working on an answer to what has become a child-care crisis which impacts not only our Iowa families but also our economy. Early in August, I aired a story about how 25% of the people in a recent survey quit their jobs because childcare ate up over 70% of their weekly take-home pay. Add to that the fact that in Iowa there are actual "child-care deserts" where working parents must travel up to two hours to find reliable child-care services.
In addition, if parents can not afford or find an accredited child-care center, they find alternatives and often, as we've seen so many times over the past year, the outcomes can be tragic.
It's time to create a system that fixes these issues for not only working for families but also child-care providers and the overall health of our economy.
If Iowa were to alter our state-funded child care assistance program and increase the eligibility from the current ceiling of $37,337 for a family of four to 200% of the federal poverty level or $51,500 it could do a number of things:
Increase working families self-sufficiency;
Increase worker productivity by easing their stress;
Increase care center income so child-care can become profitable.
Of course, you will hear that Iowa can't afford such a program. That's simply not true.
When we place more value on our working families than giving huge tax breaks to businesses, paying millions of dollars in fines due to workplace discrimination and giving for-profit managed care organizations unnecessary and obscene raises we can then afford to fix what is clearly broken.
It's time to fix our child care crisis for the working families of Iowa.
Revenue Estimating Committee
It comes as no surprise that the Revenue Estimating Committee for the State of Iowa forecast only "modest" growth in state revenues. The three-member panel said revenue for the fiscal year 2020 will increase by a meager 1.4%; well off former revenue numbers.
There are multiple reasons and they all point to the Republican Party and their failed leadership. Let's tick them off:
The Trump Trade War
This has decimated the Iowa economy. From exports to manufacturing this mess, which is apparently supported by the governor and my 2020 Iowa State Senate opponent, continues to impact the working families of our state. We've seen higher prices and a number of layoffs due to slower demand for manufactured goods. Yet do we hear a peep out of our "brave" legislative leaders? Not likely because they are complicit.
Corporate Tax Cuts
My opponent continues to bow down to the failed idea of "trickle-down" and with his help, the Iowa Legislature passed a massive tax cut for corporations. They and the folks from the Greater Des Moines Partnership, the Iowa Business Council and the Iowa Association of Business and Industry pushed through these tax breaks because (hold on...) "The Iowa tax rate doesn't look good on paper." No, really, that is exactly what they told me. Never mind that not one Iowa corporation paid that rate and that dozens of corporations here pay no tax at all and, instead, get a check for their research and development refund.
The Low Wage State
Iowa needs employees. The State Revenue Board blamed the lack of growth on the difficulty in attracting and retaining talent. Want to know why we lag in recruitment and retention? Because Iowa is a low wage state. While corporations here have huge profits those profits are not shared with workers but instead go to the top earners...the Oligarchs of Iowa. This is what you get when workers have little to no power over the powerful. Not only that but we see educators fleeing the state for better pay elsewhere.
Horrific Health Care
Once again the state fails its citizens by refusing to properly fund health care and turning over the care and treatment of over 500,000 Iowans to private for-profit companies who have a stated mission of profit over people. There are "health care deserts" out there where sick Iowans must travel hours to receive care. If you can't take care of your people it's pretty damn hard to entice others to try their luck and come here.
Lack of Childcare
And, if you think our health care situation is bad...hold on...the lack of affordable childcare in Iowa is a major disaster. Working families can't qualify for state assistance because this legislature and my opponent blocks efforts to raise the eligibility level saying it costs too much.
Here's What Costs Too Much
When we turn our backs on the hard-working men and women of Iowa and fawn over the corporations with tax breaks, incentives and tax credits it does nothing for growth. The failed policies of "trickle-down" have not worked and will never work.
And, beware the Iowa GOP and my opponent will use these numbers to further their mission to cut back on everything from education to mental health... just watch!