Last week, Iowa Rep. Gary Mohr, R-Bettendorf, was picked to be the new chairman of the Appropriations Committee in the Iowa House of Representatives. Speaker Pat Grassley, who is new himself to his own job, picked Mohr, calling him a "strong fiscal conservative with a wealth of real-world experience."
This is quite an accomplishment for the two-term lawmaker, who was first elected in 2016 after stints on the Bettendorf City Council and as an executive at the Eastern Iowa Community College District.
After the announcement, we reached out to congratulate Mohr, and in a brief conversation, we gently reminded him of some of our own spending priorities at the Statehouse – greater investments in K-12 education and, more parochially, an interest in seeing the per-pupil inequity in the school funding formula fixed.
The Davenport School District has been lobbying for years to close the gap, which allows some districts in the state to spend more per pupil than others. The disparity stems from the 1970s-era conversion from a system mostly funded by property taxes to our current arrangement.
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For the most part, our Statehouse delegation has been responsive to this issue, and there has been a small amount of progress made. But there still is quite a ways to go.
We weren’t surprised to hear Mohr respond that much next session will depend on revenue estimates that come out in December. (We think it helps to have the right priorities, too.)
Either way, we’re happy to see that a Quad-Citian has moved into this powerful position at the state capitol. We’ve had a good relationship with Mohr and we find him personally to be a reasonable person, even if he doesn't always vote the way we'd like. We hope in this new job, he will move his caucus in the direction of greater investments in education, health care and a cleaner environment — for the good of all of us.