Citizens Action Coalition
Today, in a letter to Indiana Utility Regulatory Commission Chairman James Atterholt, the Citizens Action Coalition raised concerns with respect to the commission’s apparent lack of engagement to date, at least publicly, in the proposed merger between Duke Energy and Progress Energy. CAC also submitted a public information request seeking any communications regarding the proposed merger between and among officials of both Duke Energy and Progress Energy with the IURC and other State agencies.
“We find it difficult to understand why the commission has not already begun a public investigation into the consequences of this proposed merger on the customers of Duke Energy Indiana,” stated Kerwin Olson, interim executive director of CAC. “Especially considering the recent behavior of Duke Energy not only with inappropriate communications with the commission, but also with the gross mismanagement of the problem-plagued Edwardsport IGCC.”
In 1953, at the beginning of his presidency, Dwight D. Eisenhower gave a speech in which he said, "Every gun that is made, every warship launched, every rocket fired signifies, in the final sense, a theft from those who hunger and are not fed, those who are cold and are not clothed."
That quotation is apt today. According to the War Resisters League, the United States spends 59 percent of its budget on the military. When spending on veterans’ affairs and nuclear weapons programs are added, Businessinsider.com says, the grand total is $1.01–1.35 trillion spent on national defense in 2010.
AMY GOODMAN: On the heels of last week’s deficit agreement, which widely criticized – was widely criticized for excluding a tax hike on the wealthy, as well as any measures to tackle high unemployment, the Congressional Black Caucus has launched a month-long campaign to address staggering unemployment rates among African Americans. In Detroit, Cleveland and Los Angeles, two cities that are stops on the tour, the unemployment rates are in the 40 percent range. The caucus chair last week slammed the deficit deal as a "Satan sandwich" that unfairly harms African Americans. Meanwhile, the Washington Post reports Obama will embark on his own jobs tour that will take place in the middle of the caucus’s campaign.
The rich are getting richer. Their effective tax rate, in recent years, has been reduced to the lowest in modern history. Nurses, teachers and firemen actually pay a higher tax rate than some billionaires. It's no wonder the American people are angry.
Many corporations, including General Electric and Exxon-Mobil, have made billions in profits while using loopholes to avoid paying any federal income taxes. We lose $100 billion every year in federal revenue from companies and individuals who stash their wealth in tax havens off-shore like the Cayman Islands and Bermuda. The sum of all the revenue collected by the Treasury today totals just 14.8% of our gross domestic product, the lowest in about 50 years.
CWA Local 4730
As the state of Indiana continues to reel from economic recession, IU President Michael McRobbie's raise to $533,120 for the 2011-12 academic year sparks controversy and anger from University employees whose pay increase will not match standard of living inflation for 2012.
After the Board of Trustees approved to increase McRobbie's salary by 21.8 percent, Communication Workers of America (CWA) Local 4730 immediately called on the university president to forgo all but 1.5% of a wage increase – the exact amount the majority of the campus' employees and staff was given for the next fiscal year. CWA 4730 members are extremely frustrated by the enormous discrepancy in wage increases – especially given the high projected numbers for inflation for 2012.
Editor's note: Citizens Action Coalition (CAC) Executive Director Grant Smith resigned on June 17 and sat down at his home just south of Broad Ripple in Indianapolis with Bloomington Alternative editor Steven Higgs for a conversation about a variety of topics. Smith started at CAC as a part-time canvasser in 1982. What follows are edited, extended excerpts from their 70-minute discussion.
A version of this story appears in the July 14 issue of NUVO in Indianapolis.
Higgs: Do I recall Chris (former CAC executive director Williams) hired you because you wore a suit and tie to the interview?
Smith: No, it was because I didn't. I was in the interview wearing a flannel shirt and jeans. Another guy was in a three-piece suit. Chris was talking to him and not to me. That was in February 1982. CAC was originally the Citizens Energy Coalition and formed in '74. The name was changed to CAC in about '76. The canvass operation began in '79.
On May 17, 2011, the traffic in downtown Indianapolis moved slower than an insurance company clerk preparing a reimbursement check, backed up for blocks, and if we were one second late the doors to the WellPoint annual shareholders meeting would be sealed, protected by armed guards. We jumped out of the car, leaving it our friend Donna Smith to find a parking spot, and started running up the street, dodging traffic, past the phalanx of police cars and into the Hilton.
Breathlessly rushing through the lobby we asked which floor for the WellPoint meeting and luckily didn't wait long for an elevator. When we reached the ninth floor with minutes to spare, the WellPoint staff at the registration desk greeted us like old friends, "Dr. Stone, we were afraid you weren't going to make it."
INDIANAPOLIS - Chanting “Hey hey, ho ho, Anthem WellPoint’s got to go” on an uncharacteristically cold and rainy May 17, about 50 people gathered from across Indiana in front of the Indianapolis City Market.
The occasion was the annual rally for single-payer health care, sponsored by Hoosiers for a Commonsense Health Plan (HCHP), Citizens Action Coalition of Indiana (CAC), Jobs with Justice, Indiana chapter of the AFL-CIO, the Labor Campaign for Single-Payer Health Care and Physicians for a National Health Plan.
The idea that possible presidential candidate Mitch Daniels represents fiscal restraint sounds like hogwash to opponents of three pricey projects moving forward on his watch as governor of Indiana.
At Edwardsport, construction cost overruns have skyrocketed at a Duke Energy plant that would convert coal into synthetic gas to generate electricity. Consumer groups and industrial customers have balked at the $2.72 billion bill that Duke wants ratepayers to pick up.
INDIANAPOLIS - Due to an ongoing and meaningful outpouring of financial support from women and men across the country, Planned Parenthood of Indiana (PPIN) is able to continue to cover the costs of care to its established Medicaid patients through at least Monday, May 30.
Incredibly, PPIN has received more than $50,000 in donations since the Indiana legislature and Gov. Mitch Daniels made the decision through HEA 1210 to unplug 9,300 Medicaid patients from health care at their preferred provider.