ELECTIONS

Cox and Peterson spar over Utah education in governor’s debate

Sep 30, 2020, 6:10 AM

2020 Utah Gubernatorial Debate

LIVE: Gubernatorial candidates Lt. Gov. Spencer Cox (R) and U of U law professor Chris Peterson (D) meet to debate at KSL-TV.

Posted by KSL Newsradio on Tuesday, September 29, 2020

SALT LAKE CITY – The Utah governor’s debate between leading candidates Lt. Governor Spencer Cox (R) and Chris Peterson (D) was much more civil than the one between President Donald Trump and former Vice President Joe Biden that took place later that evening. 

While the two men had their disagreements, they never became disagreeable, even when it came to their differing thoughts on education. 

Both believe Utah needs to spend more money on education, as the state has consistently ranked at the bottom of per-pupil spending in the United States. 

However, Peterson believes Utah’s flat income tax is a problem and wants the wealthy to pay more. 

“My core values say, ‘To whom much is given, a little more needs to be expected.’ And it’s not because I’m some wild-eyed liberal, it’s because I read it in ‘The Bible’. That’s a core value that I think most Utahns share,” Peterson said. 

Cox, on the other hand, believes the money is there and pointed to a recent budget deal that raised education spending in the state, despite the COVID-19 pandemic. 

However, he criticized what he called “perverse incentives” that make building a $150 million school more attractive to districts than raising teacher’s salaries. 

“We have the revenue sources. We just need to prioritize them and take advantage on some that we’re missing out on,” Cox said. 

The candidates agreed that per-pupil spending needs to be evened out so rural and lower-income areas can have the opportunities wealthier districts do. 

Peterson opposes shuffling property taxes around. 

“I want people in Bountiful, in Sandy, in Draper, in areas of Lehi and Provo to listen very carefully. What [Cox] may have just said is that he wants to take funding from your local school district and transfer it to other places around the state. I don’t believe that what we should be doing is having our kids fighting over scraps,” Peterson said. 

Cox hit back that that was not what he meant. He also felt Peterson didn’t understand the depth of the problem. 

“He obviously has not looked at the numbers because we have districts now that per-pupil spending is over $20,000 and others where it’s under $10,000. That is not equitable at all. I believe we have to be more careful about the way that we use the funds available and make sure that we’re lifting everyone up,” Cox said.

Cox also came out in support of Amendment G, which if passed in November would allow some income taxes to be spent on disabled people and children while promising to keep the new, higher education funding intact. 

Peterson said he opposed it because it would create “competition” between schools and the disabled for needed dollars. 

Recent polls show Cox is leading Peterson 55% to 19%.     

 

  

We want to hear from you.

Have a story idea or tip? Send it to the KSL NewsRadio team here.

Elections

President Joe Biden and former President Donald Trump will win their respective parties’ primarie...

Eric Bradner, CNN

Biden and Trump win Michigan primaries

Michigan is among the most important presidential swing states — and one that helped deliver Trump the White House in 2016.

4 days ago

Pro-Palestine rally
Caption:	Supporters of the campaign to vote "Uncommitted" hold a rally in suppo...

Gregory Krieg and Eric Bradner, CNN

What to watch for in the Michigan presidential primaries

The Michigan primary takes place on Tuesday Feb. 27, 2024. President Joe Biden and former president Donald Trump are expected to win.

5 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump speaks at a primary election night ...

MEG KINNARD and WILL WEISSERT Associated Press

Trump wins South Carolina, easily beating Haley in her home state and closing in on GOP nomination

Donald Trump won South Carolina's Republican primary on Saturday further consolidating his path to a third straight GOP nomination.

7 days ago

Example of ranked choice voting ballot. Twelve cities across Utah will participate in ranked choice...

Adam Small

Utah House passes bill that would end rank choice voting

Utah's ranked choice voting pilot program may come to and early end as the House passes a bill ending the program.

9 days ago

Republican presidential candidate former President Donald Trump holds gold Trump sneakers at Sneake...

MICHAEL R. SISAK Associated Press

Here’s a look inside Donald Trump’s $355 million civil fraud verdict as an appeals fight looms

On the witness stand last year, Donald Trump proclaimed: "I have a lot of cash." After Friday's eye-popping penalty in his New York civil fraud trial, he's going to need it.

14 days ago

nick clegg...

Associated Press

Tech companies sign accord to combat AI-generated election trickery

Tech executives from Amazon, Google, Meta, Microsoft, OpenAI and TikTok gathered to announce a new framework for responding to AI-generated deepfakes.

15 days ago

Sponsored Articles

Mother and cute toddler child in a little fancy wooden cottage, reading a book, drinking tea and en...

Visit Bear Lake

How to find the best winter lodging in Bear Lake, Utah

Winter lodging in Bear Lake can be more limited than in the summer, but with some careful planning you can easily book your next winter trip.

Happy family in winter clothing at the ski resort, winter time, watching at mountains in front of t...

Visit Bear Lake

Ski more for less: Affordable ski resorts near Bear Lake, Utah

Plan your perfect ski getaway in Bear Lake this winter, with pristine slopes, affordable tickets, and breathtaking scenery.

front of the Butch Cassidy museum with a man in a cowboy hat standing in the doorway...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

Looking Back: The History of Bear Lake

The history of Bear Lake is full of fascinating stories. At over 250,000 years old, the lake has seen generations of people visit its shores.

silhouette of a family looking over a lake with a bird in the top corner flying...

Bear Lake Convention and Visitors Bureau

8 Fun Activities To Do in Bear Lake Without Getting in the Water

Bear Lake offers plenty of activities for the whole family to enjoy without having to get in the water. Catch 8 of our favorite activities.

Wellsville Mountains in the spring with a pond in the foreground...

Wasatch Property Management

Advantages of Renting Over Owning a Home

Renting allows you to enjoy luxury amenities and low maintenance without the long-term commitment and responsibilities of owning a home.

Clouds over a red rock vista in Hurricane, Utah...

Wasatch Property Management

Why Southern Utah is a Retirement Paradise

Retirement in southern Utah offers plenty of cultural and recreational opportunities. Find out all that this region has to offer.

Cox and Peterson spar over Utah education in governor’s debate