State Representative Mark Smith of Marshalltown is the first candidate to announce he’s running to be the next chairman of the Iowa Democratic Party. Current chair Troy Price announced his resignation yesterday, after more than a week of confusion about the process and results of the Iowa caucuses. Smith told Radio Iowa today that his background gives him the ability to step in and help restore confidence to his party.
Smith announced in September he would not seek reelection to a tenth term in the Iowa House. Smith served as Democratic Leader for five and a half years, leading the effort to recruit and raise money for legislative candidates.
The Democratic Party State Central Committee will meet Saturday afternoon to elect a new party chair. Smith says if he’s chosen, he does not plan to resign his seat in the legislature and will serve out the remaining 10 months of his term in the House.
A proposal aimed at easing property taxes by nearly $600 million over three years cleared the Nebraska Revenue Committee on a split vote yesterday.
The measure advanced to the full Legislature on a 6-2 vote. It would increase state aid to local schools and then ratchet down property tax bills by the same amount. Schools account for about 60% of property taxes collected in Nebraska.
The bill would work in part by reducing the property valuations used in calculating school property taxes. The bill also would direct more aid to the state’s smaller, rural school districts, which no longer qualify for equalization aid.