POLITICS + GOVERNMENT

Gov. Cox shares Christmas wish list in virtual town hall

Dec 13, 2023, 9:01 AM

Governor Spencer Cox, (R-UT) held a virtual town hall Tuesday night, discussing budget issues inclu...

Governor Spencer Cox, (R-UT) held a virtual town hall Tuesday night, discussing budget issues including affordable housing, high speed rail, enterprenership. Photo courtesy of KSL News

(R-UT)

SALT LAKE CITY —  Gov. Spencer Cox says his Christmas wish list for Utah includes more affordable housing, one more winter with record snowfall, high-speed rail service connecting Salt Lake City with Boise and Las Vegas, and for everyone to disagree more civilly.

Cox held a virtual town hall on Facebook, X, LinkedIn, and YouTube Tuesday night. Questions were submitted by social media users. They were answered during the roughly 40-minute question-and-answer session.

The need for more starter homes

Cox talked about the $30 million earmarked in his budget proposal for deeply affordable housing.

“We have a housing crisis, not just in Utah but across the country,” said Cox. We’ve been working on deeply affordable housing for several years. The legislature has supported increased funding over the past two years.”

Gov. Cox said “deeply affordable housing” includes housing for households whose incomes are below 30% of the average median income or AMI. In Utah, a four-person household with an income less than $31,000 a year, or $1500 a month, would qualify.

“Sadly right now, there are only about three available units for every 100 households below that income threshold. The good news is many of those below 30% AMI are in households already, but we still need more,” according to Cox.

Cox Wish list: More snow please!

In response to a question about snowfall, the governor said he hopes the state sees another winter like we saw last season.

“I hope it will be another crazy winter like last year, where we literally had record snowfall, the most snow ever recorded in the history of our state. We were lucky not to have more flooding, there was some localized flooding, but overall we came out unscathed,” recalled Cox.

Cox said it is early in the season, however, as of mid-December, northern Utah saw positive progress with above-average snowfall. Southern Utah hasn’t seen much snow so far.  We were in a dry spell at this time last year, ahead of the Beehive State winter wonderland of 2023.

‘We can disagree better’

Other issues discussed Tuesday night included entrepreneurship and the need to encourage start-ups. Earlier this year, Cox appointed Ryan Starks as the new executive director of the Governor’s Office of Economic Opportunity. He also named respected businessman Brad Bonham as the department’s first entrepreneur-in-residence, in hopes of building up the state’s reputation as the start-up state.

Gov. Cox has been very outspoken about his own hot-button issue as chairman of the National Governor’s Association, disagreeing better. Tuesday night, he reiterated his push for civility among us all, without compromising our core beliefs.

On the issue of immigration and the crisis at the southern border, Cox said he and fellow governors have formed a working group to come up with common sense solutions to securing our borders.

Related: Gov. Cox releases budget plan to improve homelessness resources in Utah

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Gov. Cox shares Christmas wish list in virtual town hall