Gubernatorial Candidates Spar Over Jobs, Education

4 years 6 months 1 day ago September 21, 2012 Sep 21, 2012 Friday, September 21 2012 Friday, September 21, 2012 4:51:00 PM CDT in Smart Decision
By: Garrett Bergquist
loading

COLUMBIA - Jobs and education took center stage at the Missouri Press Association's gubernatorial debate Friday morning.

Hundreds of journalists and campaign supporters looked on as Associated Press correspondent David Lieb moderated the debate among the candidates. Democratic incumbent Gov. Jay Nixon repeatedly mentioned Missouri's lower-than-average unemployment and consistent funding for public education. Missouri's unemployment rate in August was 7.2 percent according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, versus 8.1 percent for the entire country. Republican candidate Dave Spence centered his arguments on jobs, saying Missouri would be able to fully address its problems once the state had consistent job growth. Libertarian candidate Jim Higgins said government in Missouri and the United States has gotten too large and that the state should turn some areas back over to the private sector.

Bureau of Labor Statistics data released Friday show Missouri added 17,900 jobs in August, behind only Texas and Florida. This represented a 0.7 percent increase in employment over the month, which tied Missouri for first in over-the-month job creation rate with Hawaii and Oklahoma.

Spence said the biggest obstacle to school funding is the state's unemployment rate, saying people on unemployment cannot contribute income tax revenue. Higgins said he would support the use of charter schools and school vouchers to allow parents to choose where their children go to school, measures he said would address both the achievement gap and school funding. Nixon and Spence both said they opposed vouchers.

"We shouldn't take public dollars and give them to private schools," Nixon said, while Spence said school vouchers would lead to "mass chaos."

Nixon said public schools have record levels of funding, while Spence said the state needs "more paychecks and fewer unemployment checks."

On the subject of transportation, Nixon said any discussions about new revenue for roads must involve members of the public. He said the gas tax is an increasingly untenable way to fund highways because cars are becoming more fuel efficient. U.S. Energy Information Administration data show motor fuel consumption declined by 7 percent between 2006 and 2011, the most recent year for which data are available. Missouri charges a 17 cent per gallon tax on motor fuel. Both Higgins and Spence said the state needs to use its existing funding more efficiently, with Higgins suggesting MoDOT contract out some types of work. Spence expressed caution on passenger rail, calling it a great concept but asking who would pay for it. On the same subject, Nixon said Missouri should first eliminate slowdowns before brining passenger rail lines through the state.

The candidates expressed concern over how to address Medicaid. Higgins said Missouri should not expand Medicaid and should resist any federal mandates. He said abuse on both the medical and patient side of Medicaid is a major cause of funding problems. Spence said the best way to reduce Medicaid costs is to enact tort reform legislation and use Medicaid money judiciously. Nixon said he would work with politicians in a bipartisan way to find the best way to match the state's needs with requirements under Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

All three candidates expressed strong support for the Second Amendment. Spence and Higgins both said people have a basic right to self-defense, while Nixon called hunting and fishing "a big part of who we are as Missourians." The candidates also criticized the Army Corps of Engineers' policies on the Missouri river, with Spence saying, "Everyone I talk to who lives along the river is fit to be tied" about existing policies.

 

More News

Grid
List
FREDERICK, Md. (AP) — A Missouri man charged in the 1996 slaying of a 15-year-old Maryland girl will remain behind... More >>
45 minutes ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 12:14:42 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lincoln University and Jefferson City Parks and Recreation announced the name for its new wellness and recreation... More >>
1 hour ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 11:56:00 AM CDT in News
FORISTELL (AP) — Authorities said two New York women who were arrested in eastern Missouri after jumping out a second-story... More >>
2 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 11:00:11 AM CDT in News
SEDALIA - A fatal car crash left one woman dead and a toddler injured Thursday night, according to a Missouri... More >>
3 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 9:22:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Police arrested a man following an armed robbery at Pickleman's Deli on Old 63 early Friday. Officers... More >>
4 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 8:52:00 AM CDT in News
CLAYTON (AP) — A suburban St. Louis mother has been convicted of poisoning her son with prescription medications and keeping... More >>
4 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 8:21:50 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - Former U.S. Marine Eric Olson is used to brotherhood in service. Now he has formed a different kind... More >>
5 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 7:09:34 AM CDT in Top Stories
FLORISSANT (AP) — Authorities are looking for a driver who struck and killed a pedestrian before fleeing in St. Louis... More >>
6 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 6:50:00 AM CDT in News
SPRINGFIELD (AP) — A former southwestern Missouri high school teacher has admitted in federal court that he downloaded child pornography... More >>
6 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 6:46:09 AM CDT in News
CENTERVIEW (AP) — Authorities say a riot inside a western Missouri jail pod has been squelched. The... More >>
7 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 5:40:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - In honor of Women's History Month, the Harry S. Truman Memorial Verterans' Hospital is recognizing the achievements of... More >>
9 hours ago March 24, 2017 Mar 24, 2017 Friday, March 24 2017 Friday, March 24, 2017 3:21:00 AM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - The Columbia Chamber of Commerce hosted a forum for the Columbia Public School's school board and Boone Hospital... More >>
17 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 7:54:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY (AP) — Missouri Gov. Eric Greitens is backing a contested health care overhaul proposed in the U.S. House.... More >>
18 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 6:23:27 PM CDT in News
COLUMBIA - As students and families are preparing to go on spring break trips, the Columbia/Boone County Public Health and... More >>
19 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:52:00 PM CDT in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A confrontation between neighbors ended with a man shooting two dogs, the Camden County Sheriff's Office said.... More >>
19 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:44:00 PM CDT in News
JEFFERSON CITY - Lincoln University's president, Kevin D. Rome, will resign effective June 30 and the next day take over... More >>
19 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 5:03:00 PM CDT in News
ST. CLAIR (AP) — Firefighters who put out a blaze in an eastern Missouri woode d area found a man's... More >>
20 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 4:08:16 PM CDT in News
CAMDEN COUNTY - A man who investigators say sexually assaulted a 14-year-old female victim on Monday has been charged with... More >>
21 hours ago March 23, 2017 Mar 23, 2017 Thursday, March 23 2017 Thursday, March 23, 2017 3:42:00 PM CDT in News
Columbia, MO
Broken Clouds 72°
1pm 73°
2pm 75°
3pm 69°
4pm 67°

Select a station to view its upcoming schedule:

Coming Up Next

12:30p
Inside Edition
1:00p
Days of Our Lives
2:00p
The Dr. Oz Show
12:00p
Jerry Springer
1:00p
Maury
2:00p
Judge Alex

Tonight's Schedule

7:00p
Grimm
8:00p
Dateline NBC
9:00p
Dateline NBC
7:00p
The Originals
8:00p
Reign
9:00p
KOMU 8 News @ Nine on The CW
9:30p
Seinfeld