May 26, 2011

Raise Your Voice to Break Iowa Budget Deadlock

Call Governor Branstad TODAY at 515-281-5211 to urge compromise on cuts to education and job creation!

“Top Ten” items at stake:
1.   Our K-12 schools: Schools need 2 percent allowable growth.  Without it we are facing layoffs, larger class sizes, and reduced educational opportunities.
2.   Early education for four-year-olds: We need to fulfill our commitments to quality and access for all Iowa children, we should not cut funding and replace the current program with an inadequate voucher system that ignores quality and undermines access.
3.   Our public universities (UI, ISU, and UNI): We must maintain current funding, not make cuts that would force double-digit tuition increases on our students.
4.   Aid to private college students: It is important to maintain current funding; cutting $3.6 million from the Iowa Tuition Grant Program would take away support for Iowa students who qualify on a need basis for aid to attend private colleges.
5.   Community colleges: Making cuts would force huge tuition increases on Iowa students.
6.   Helping Iowans fill skilled job openings: Investing $10 million would take a successful job training pilot program statewide.  With this investment, Iowa’s community colleges could help unemployed and underemployed Iowans earn industry-recognized certificates to fill skilled worker shortages hampering Iowa businesses.
7.   Local workforce offices for the unemployed: In these economic times, we need to keep the current offices open to help the unemployed improve their skills and look for work, not cut many of the offices and “replace” them with a Web site.
8.   Iowa Values Fund for high-wage jobs: This successful program was created with strong bi-partisan support to help businesses create high-wage jobs in advanced manufacturing, informational technology, and biotechnology. In addition, this program provides essential job training at our Community Colleges and economic development at our Regent universities. We can not afford to shut the program down.
9.   Small business employee health insurance tax credits: A state tax credit to leverage federal tax incentives to help small businesses (with ten or fewer employees) provide health benefits for their employees has been proposed.  We need to truly support small business, not just pay them lip service.
10. Jumpstart local renewable energy jobs: We need to provide $10 million in consumer rebates to leverage existing federal tax credits which help homeowners and businesses install small wind and solar projects.  This means jobs for Iowa plumbers, contractors, electricians, and other small businesses.\

Call Governor Branstad at 515-281-5211 and tell him he needs to compromise to support education and job creation!

After you call, you can let us know how it went by sending us an email at SDinsdale@IowaCAN or calling 515-277-5077. 

May 24, 2011

Veterans for Peace president argues for end to needless wars

by Diane Heldt :: UPDATED: 20 May 2011
IOWA CITY — A national group that recently launched a second chapter in Iowa wants the U.S. government to better support military veterans but also to stop creating more veterans through unnecessary wars, the group’s president said Tuesday in Iowa City.

Elliott Adams, national president of Veterans for Peace, said his group works to make people aware of the costs of war, to support veterans and all victims of war, to reduce and abolish all nuclear weapons and to encourage the government to end unnecessary wars.

Adams uses the analogy that each veteran is like a drop of water falling into a pond, creating ripples across the larger area.

“What we’re dealing with now is like a rainstorm ripping up the surface of society,” Adams said during an interview with The Gazette Tuesday. “The social cost of war is unbelievably high and we don’t do well at seeing it.”

Adams was in Iowa this week for several events, including a conference on militarism and environment in Iowa City and the launch of a new Veterans for Peace chapter in Des Moines. Iowa City already had a Veterans for Peace chapter serving Eastern Iowa, and the Des Moines chapter is No. 163 nationally.

“We have all served in the armed forces and see a greater commitment to a higher cause, which is establishing peace,” said Adams, who was a paratrooper in the infantry, serving in Vietnam, Japan, Korea and Alaska.

The ongoing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan are the two longest wars in American history. The financial cost and human toll have not left us safer as a nation, Adams argues.

“The war in Afghanistan is not making us safer,” he said. “It’s making us less safe.”

And he worries the U.S. military presence is spreading in other countries, like Libya and Pakistan.

Meanwhile, veterans at home don’t have the necessary government support or resources to deal with alcohol problems, drug abuse, mental health issues and injuries and brain trauma, Adams and Ed Flaherty, president of the Iowa City chapter, said. Homelessness and suicide rates among veterans of the Iraq War, for example, far exceed those of the rest of the U.S. population, they said.

“We want all veterans treated well, but most of all we don’t want more veterans created needlessly,” Flaherty said. “We’ll never catch up” with the needs.