Iowa Main Street Alliance
Providing a Public Policy Voice for Small Business
We bring small business values into the public dialogue to advance policies that are good for small businesses, our employees and the communities that sustain us.
Who we are
Iowa Main Street Alliance is a project of Iowa Citizen Action Network. Our members are small business owners/ entrepreneurs/ farmers from across the state who are dedicated to giving a voice to small business.
How we work
- Too often, small businesses are “spoken for” by corporate lobbyists who claim to represent us but are really pushing a Big Business agenda.
- We’re changing that by creating opportunities for small business owners to speak for ourselves – face to face with decision-makers, at public events and through the media. And we’re making an impact.
- Ending the special Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent. The name of small business is being used by special interest groups to protect extra tax breaks for the wealthiest Americans. Real small business owners can’t let this identity theft – stealing our good name to advance a special interest agenda – go unchallenged.
- Closing tax loopholes for big business. Small business owners see corporate tax loopholes and accounting gimmicks used to shift U.S. profits offshore to avoid taxes as serious problems.all business owners say big corporations and the wealthy don’t pay their fair share of taxes. They support increasing taxes on millionaire incomes, allowing high-end tax cuts to expire, and closing the carried interest loophole that gives big tax breaks to hedge fund managers.
- Jobs and the economy: With people losing their jobs due to the recession, we’ve lost customers and business. We support policies to get people back to work and restore our customer base.
- Issues that are important to YOU: as a coalition, we need input from our members; your concerns will help shape our priorities going forward.
The State of the Small Business Nation ? 2011
Bad Medicine: How Proposed Cuts to Medicaid and Medicare Will Hurt Small Businesses, Local Economies
Despite the benefits of Medicaid and Medicare for small businesses and our most vulnerable, under a proposal touted by Representative Paul Ryan, Congress is now considering gutting the programs. Read the fact sheet: Word | PDF
Small Businesses = Big Winners in Health Care Reform
Small businesses have paid the price of a broken health care system for decades, paying more for less and enduring the worst abuses in the small group and individual insurance markets. Starting September 23, these worst abuses are against the law. But that?s not all that makes small businesses big winners in health reform. Read the fact sheet: Word | PDF
Join Us For a Roundtable Discussion September 21
Tuesday, September 21, 1-2p, Community Room, Ames Public Library
On September 23 many provisions of the new law that will benefit seniors, small businesses, families with children and the nation as a whole officially go into effect. We will have a presentation on how the new law affects small business, farmers, the self-employed and others followed by a discussion with staff from Senator Harkin?s office and our State Representatives
Feel Free to Invite Others Who Would Be Interested!!
For more info, contact Sue Dinsdale at 515-277-5077 x14 or firstname.lastname@example.org
While in DC our Iowa Main Street Alliance members went to the Department of the Treasury for a meeting with Gene Sperling, conducted Hill Visits with 4 Iowa Congressmen, and attended a Health Care for America Now coalition press event releasing the Medical Loss Ratio report featuring Senator Al Franken, Rep. Bill Pascrell of New Jersey.
One of the health reform package’s benefits for small businesses that takes effect immediately – this year – is a new health care tax credit that will help small businesses save on insurance costs. Here's a calculator to find out your small business tax credit.
Iowa MSA has collected surveys on financial reform from over 100 small business owners across Iowa. We canvassed both existing MSA members and potential and new members. This is a national project with well over 1000 surveys collected from participating states. The information was compiled into a report that highlights each state's individual results and was released on January 28th.
Main Street Alliance business owner thanks Rep Braley for his vote on Health Care Reform
Congressman Braley visited one of our Main Street Alliance businesses in Waterloo. Alpha Express, Inc, is an African American family-owned and operated trucking and transportation business. The owner Levorn Robinson, his son and family were on hand to meet with Congressman Braley. Levorn started his remarks to the press with a big thanks to Rep. Braley and reiterating the importance of the vote to small businesses like his.
Iowa Main Street Alliance members participate in "Health Care Reality Tour" to highlight importance of health reform for small business and the local economy.
On Tuesday, as the Senate Finance Committee held final deliberations on its health care reform package, Iowa small business owners described their own health care needs to staff from Rep. Dave Loebsack's office. They sent a clear message about health care reform: "Stand up for Main Street, not K Street."
Reshonda Young, manager of Alpha Express, talks about the experience of finding Healthcare Insurance for their Staff.
The interview took place during HCAN's rally organized by ICAN.
Iowa Main Street Alliance Continues to Grow
The Main Street Alliance has grown by more than 20 members since our last report in January with membership now over 350. The new members have been recruited by one-on-one interviews in the Des Moines, Ames, Waterloo/Cedar Falls and Mason City areas, attending events, referral by other members and door to door canvassing.
We have collected health care stories from small business owners, entrepreneurs and farmers. We have 10 new stories in various stages of completion and they will be compiled and used to connect with Iowa's Members of Congress and targetted media representatives. These stories help us to identify spokespersons for media events, letters to the editor and forums.
Rapid Response for Grassley
In March, we had two rapid response events and, with the help of the phone canvass, identified over 60 MSA members who committed to contacting Senator Grassley. We also circulated a letter from MSA members to Senator Grassley and secured 15 signatures. This was delivered to his office in DC via fax and also in person with MSA (and ICAN Board Member) ReShonda Brown.
Mason City Health Care Roundtable
We attended the Health Care Roundtable in Mason City where several of our members were present and submitted questions to Senator Grassley regarding a public plan. The Senator addressed a public plan in his remarks, reiterating his stance that a public option is unfair competition to private industry and would cause private insurance companies to go out of business.
Health Care Forums in 5 Congressional Districts
We assisted with Health Care Forums in cooperation with HCAN, Iowa Farmers Union, Center for Rural Affairs, and Working Families Win. We invited MSA members to attend and signed up additional members at these meetings in all five congressional districts. Several of the attendees are very interested in the MSA and are potential members of the leadership team.
- Fact Sheet: The State of the Small Business Nation ? 2011 Ten Concrete Policies to Level the Playing Field for Small Businesses in 2011. | Word | PDF
- Fact Sheet: Bad Medicine: How Proposed Cuts to Medicaid and Medicare Will Hurt Small Businesses, Local Economies | Word | PDF
- Fact Sheet: Clean Energy One Pager | Word | PDF
- Fact Sheet: Clean Energy Plan - Draft | Word | PDF
- Fact Sheet: Small Business Petition Language: Stand with Small Businesses, Not Big Polluters, on New EPA Standards | Word | PDF
- Fact Sheet: Small Businesses = Big Winners in Health Care Reform | Word | PDF
- Fact Sheet: Small Businesses and the Final Health Reform Package: 5 Need-to-Know Points
- Fact Sheet (PDF): Financial Regulatory Reform: Protecting the American Economy, Increasing Stability and Restoring Confidence
- Fact Sheet (PDF): Q & A: Why We Need a Consumer Financial Protection Agency
- Chart (PDF): Community Financial Protection Agency Overview
- Report (PDF): Main Street Policy Pulse: Small Business Views On Financial Reform
Based on a survey of 1,237 small business owners from 13 states, this report assesses participating small businesses? experiences with the economic recession and evaluates Main Street business owners? views on financial reform. The survey found strong support among participating small business owners for financial reform and creation of a consumer financial protection agency.
Iowa Snapshot (PDF): Main Street Policy Pulse: Small Business Views On Financial Reform
In Iowa, 101 small business owners participated in the survey on financial issues and financial reform. Respondents overwhelmingly believe that Congress should pass strong financial reforms, financial reforms are needed to ensure accountability on Wall Street, promote fair access to credit for small businesses and prevent another collapse. They also support creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency to supervise all bank and non-bank lenders. They believe that the CFPA would help small businesses by ensuring access to credit on fair terms and making sure all lenders are playing by the same rules.
- Fact Sheet (PDF): Obama Administration Fights for American Families: Protecting Consumers, Investors, and Taxpayers
Fact sheet on the Consumer Financial Protection Agency
- Fact Sheet (PDF): Community Banks will Benefit from the Consumer Protection Financial Agency
- Fact Sheet (PDF): Six Myths about the Consumer Financial Protection Agency
- Fact Sheet (PDF): $146 Million of 'Shoe-Leather' to Kill Consumer Protection?
Six trade associations representing Wall Street, big business, major banks and mortgage lenders, and the consumer credit industry are planning an all-out assault on the creation of a Consumer Financial Protection Agency.
- Fact Sheet (PDF): How Health Reform Will Benefit Iowa Small Businesses
- Report (PDF): Taking the Pulse of Main Street: Small Businesses, Health Insurance, and Priorities for Reform
Small business owners are considered a key voice in the public dialogue over health care reform. But where do small business owners stand on the issue? Taking the Pulse of Main Street reports results from a survey of 1,200 small business owners' experiences with health insurance and perspectives on different reform proposals. The results show small business owners want real health reform, are willing to contribute, and want the choice of a public health insurance plan.
- Charts Display the Results of Iowan Small Business Health Care Questionaire
Sign on Statement:
To sign on to the statement below, click on this link:
Call to action:
We, the undersigned business owners, executives and investors call on Congress and President Obama to let the Bush-era top bracket tax cuts for those with taxable incomes over $200,000 (individual) and $250,000 (couple) expire no later than Dec. 31, 2012, as now scheduled, without another extension.
Letter to Congress and the President:
As small business owners, we urge you to end the special Bush-era tax cuts for the top 2 percent of income earners, or household income over $250,000 a year. This is the right thing to do for small businesses, our local economies, and America.
The debate over the Bush tax cuts has been clouded by claims that ending special breaks for the top 2 percent of income earners would impact many small businesses. As small business owners, we know these claims don’t square with the facts.
In reality, only a tiny fraction – roughly 3 percent – of all American taxpayers who report any form of business income on their personal tax returns would be impacted by a change in tax rates for income over $250,000. Even this small fraction includes hedge fund managers, high-powered corporate lawyers, and K Street lobbyists, so the number of real small businesses affected is even fewer.
Furthermore, the “trickle down” theory used to justify extra tax cuts at the top simply doesn’t work. When the Congressional Budget Office examined close to a dozen options to jumpstart economic activity and job creation in early 2010, it found that extending special tax breaks for the richest Americans was the least effective of all 11 options for creating jobs and boosting the economy.
Finally, claims about how ending these special tax cuts will impact job creation ignore the most basic fact about what drives small business hiring. Customers drive small business hiring, not tax cuts. We hire when we see opportunities, when demand exceeds the capacity of our current workforce, not because of a tax cut on our take-home income.
Small businesses need more customers. How do we get there? Build roads and bridges, invest in education, hire teachers and first responders – this will create local jobs, inject money into local economies, and bring more customers into our businesses. But we won’t have the resources to do these things if we take the nearly $1 trillion we would raise from ending the extra tax cuts for income over $250,000 and hand it right back in another giveaway to the top.
We urge you to stand with real small businesses and end the special Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent.
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