New Child Tax Credit Payments Start on July 15
Starting July 15, Iowa families will begin receiving monthly payments directly to their bank account or mailboxes thanks to the Biden Administration’s American Rescue Plan. The expansion of the Child Tax Credit will provide $250 per child ages six through 17 and $300 per child under the age of six.
More than 85% of Iowa families with children will qualify for the new monthly payments. Couples making less than $150,000 and single parents making less than $112,500 will qualify for the full amount of the expanded Child Tax Credit. Families with higher incomes may receive a smaller credit. Eligibility information can be found at childtaxcredit.gov.
Iowans who have already filed taxes this year do not need to do anything to sign up for the payments. Families that do not normally file taxes who are eligible but must sign up to receive these payments through the IRS portal at: irs.gov/credits-deductions/child-tax-credit-non-filer-sign-up-tool.
Governor Delays Assistance to Iowans Who May Lose Their Home
In January 2021, Iowa received $195 million for a rent and utility assistance program to keep Iowans who were impacted by COVID in their homes. The program was created to pay for past due rent, future rent, and past due utility bills including electric, water, natural gas, propane, trash, and broadband.
Six months later, an investigative report by the Des Moines Register found Governor Reynolds was holding financial assistance from Iowans who are trying to stay in their homes.
So far, Reynolds has only distributed 2% of the funds, or $4 million, and another $2 million has been spent on administrative costs. Over 7,400 Iowans have applied for assistance through the program but over 5,000 of those applications have yet to be approved by the Reynolds Administration.
On July 31, the federal moratorium on evictions and foreclosures will be lifted which means some Iowans behind on rent could lose their housing beginning on August 1.
Given the failure of Governor Reynolds to get assistance into the hands of Iowans, some lawmakers are calling on the Governor to issue an emergency proclamation and extend the moratorium on evictions in Iowa until August 31.
The extension will prevent Iowans who have applied for assistance from being evicted from their home because of the needless delays of the Reynolds Administration.
Applications are still being accepted for rent and utility assistance. Iowa residents (except Polk County) can apply for assistance here. Polk County residents can apply for assistance here.
Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grants Available
With Iowa ranked 45th worst in the nation for broadband access, Iowa lawmakers passed a bipartisan bill this session to invest more in broadband across the state. The bill, HF 848, was signed into law in April and establishes matching grants for providers who expand broadband in underserved areas.
It was announced earlier this month that an Empower Rural Iowa Broadband Grant program will be available for broadband infrastructure from the Office of Chief Information Officer (OCIO). The funding is issued under Notice of Funding Availability (NOFA) #006 and is based on the Statewide Broadband Availability Map that includes renewed Targeted Service area determination per HF 848 (Broadband Policy Act).
The application window for communications service providers is open from July 1st through July 28th, 2021. For more information, including all documentation and related materials, can be found here: ocio.iowa.gov/broadband-grants.
In addition, Iowans can apply for the federal Emergency Broadband Benefit Program, which provides a temporary discount on monthly broadband bills for qualifying low-income households.
If your household is eligible, you can receive:
- A discount on your broadband service and equipment rentals
- A one-time discount of up to $100 for a laptop, tablet or desktop computer
Go to GetEmergencyBoardband.org to apply online and to find participating local service providers.
Iowa House Democrats look forward to adequately funding and continuing expanding rural broadband access to every Iowan.
Low Wages Dominate Iowa Job Board
There are many reasons the Iowa economy continues to struggle to come out of the pandemic and one of the most critical is a lack of jobs that pay a living wage.
According to the most recent data from the State Economic Monitor, Iowa ranks 38th in the country in average weekly earnings, well below the national average.
While Governor Reynolds continues to tout that many of Iowa’s jobs remain unfilled, the report sheds light on why some jobs are still open.
The report found that just 9% of jobs posted in Iowa pay a living wage for a family of four without an advanced college degree. Less than 2% of the jobs posted would pay a living wage for the same family if they did not attend college.
There are many paths to economically rebound from a pandemic – one of the simplest is offering wages that enable a person to afford basic services. For far too long Iowans have had to choose between health care, child care, and groceries because their job does not pay a living wage.
More Iowa News
ENJOY THE OUTDOORS IN IOWA THIS SUMMER: With vacation season in full-swing, now is a good time to get outside and enjoy Iowa’s state parks. The Department of Natural Resources (DNR) and the Iowa Tourism Office have teamed up to provide a free digital passport for people to use to explore the parks. People can use the passport to learn about the parks, visit new parks, and earn prizes. To sign up for a passport, head to: explore.traveliowa.com. For a list of all of Iowa’s state parks check out: iowadnr.gov/Places-to-Go/State-Parks/Iowa-State-Parks. Many state parks offer camping and cabin rentals. To reserve a campsite visit: iowastateparks.reserveamerica.com/welcome.do?tti=home.
DNR ANNOUNCES NEW RECYCLING CAMPAIGN: A new recycling campaign to improve recycling efforts around the state was announced by the Iowa Department of Natural Resources (DNR). The campaign will focus on informing Iowans of what can be recycled and what cannot be recycled. “Recycling right” assures that the materials collected can be easily recycled. It also ensures that materials are not contaminated or if they need to be sent to the landfill instead of recycled. The DNR will also focus on community recycling. Some communities around the state have curbside recycling while other communities rely on collection locations throughout a town or rural area. In certain parts of the state, the most effective recycling option is to take materials to the closest recycling facility. Iowans interested in joining the campaign can snap a selfie of themselves recycling at home, in the workplace, or on the road, and posting it online. Whether it’s a bin, cart, or a drop-off center, Iowa Recyclers can get involved by posting pictures of their recycling options on social media. Tag the DNR with @IowaDNR and use the hashtag #IAmARecycler. Additional information on the campaign can be found at iowadnr.gov/Environmental-Protection/Land-Quality/Waste-Planning-Recycling.
JOIN THE GOLDIE’S KIDS CLUB: Goldie’s Kids Club is a group for children under the age of 12 through the State Historical Society of Iowa aimed at teaching kids about Iowa’s history. Goldie’s Kids Club offers a variety of in-person and at home activities for kids. Summer activities include tours of the State Capitol grounds, day camps, and many online programs. While signing up as a member is not required, the membership is free and includes a newsletter with fun facts and games, exclusive invitations to museum activities, a birthday card from Goldie, and other items throughout the year. For more information about Goldie’s Kids Club and to find past and future activities visit, iowaculture.gov/goldie. On July 24th there is a special online program with Kendra Vander Vlient, a layout artist at Walt Disney Animation Studios who is originally from Iowa. Kendra has worked on several Disney films including “Frozen” and “Moana.” Registration is free but required at, iowaculture.gov/calendar/goldies-kids-club-virtual-program-disney-layout-artist-kendra-vander-vliet.