Dear Governor Ducey,
I assume you are rich. Poor people aren’t governors. You ran Cold Stone Creamery, albeit I understood, not that well. But still, you were an exec. You have wealthy friends. You must be doing fine.
Most of these letters have been about money—how I am begging you, please, to restore the budget cuts you made to Higher Education in March of 2015. And, while you’re at it, why not fund K-12 at an amount that gives the dollar-per-kid-in-Arizona funding situation a bump out of last place?
I have my own money situation. I’ve also been trying to get out of credit card debt for ten years now. Grad school is expensive and grad students are as good with money as undergrads—I’ll pay off those loans when I get a job! But then, you get a job and it pays less than you thought and everything costs more than it was supposed to, and while you are lucky lucky to have a job and to be paying off those debts, you still wonder, how is it that you are still not saving money? It’s like running on sand—you’re going forward but so slowly and my thighs are burning.
I just don’t get how people amass so much wealth. Maybe they work at places that give raises?
Thanks to my job, I have good health insurance (I guess I can thank you for that! Please don’t take that away), I have a house with relatively comfortable beds, good food—I’m making Orecciette with Kale and Breadcrumbs. Last night I made grilled turkey breast with buerre blanc sauce. Tomorrow, tofu Pad Thai—I mean, that’s good right? My car runs, my kids have piano lesson, my dogs get their shots, I have books to read, a computer that, although you can’t see the ‘n’ key anymore, still types. With what would I do more money (except pay off those loans?)
But you, extra-wealthy one, must know something I don’t. That having extra money must let you feel freer? That, if you wanted, you could stop being governor tomorrow and move to Costa Rica? But you couldn’t take your whole family with you? You couldn’t take your comfortable bed with you. You couldn’t take your house with you. I mean sure, there’d be houses and beds there too but they’d be lonely. Even if you wife and kids came with you, it would be so expensive to fly home to see your mom. What about your friends who got you elected? I guess you can always make new friends. Maybe Costa Rica has a good and strong educational system you could gut?
But really, people who have so much money, have thousands upon thousands of dollars coming in a month, all loans and mortgages paid off, with bedrooms they don’t sleep in and cars they don’t drive, what are they amassing for?
One of your colleagues and party-affiliates, state legislator Steve Yarborough, called the recent legislation allowing public tax-dollars to be used as vouchers to pay private tuition a great success. It is a great success, especially to him. According to Laurie Roberts, writing for The Republic writes, “In all, Yarbrough's Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization has siphoned more than $116 million from the state treasury via individual tax-credit donations since 1998, according to the non-profit's latest IRS filing, covering the 2013-14 school year.” That money, that once went to all kids, now goes to a few kids. But not only those kids. Roberts continues, “By law, STOs get to keep 10 percent of what they raise in tax-credit donations. This, to administer the program. In 2013-14, Yarbrough's Arizona Christian School Tuition Organization collected roughly $17 million in tax-credit donations. That's a sweet $1.7 million for overhead….Of that, Yarbrough collected nearly $146,000 in compensation, according to his latest IRS filing.” So a legislator who is in charge of the public’s money not only diverts public money toward private enterprise but also to his own bank account.”
In my understanding of wealth, the main reason to collect money was to provide for one’s family. As the state’s surplus grows and grows, I wonder why you’re hoarding instead of providing? What is the point of the money, why have a government at all, if not to help all the kids build a fruitful future? The kids are the ones who grow up to sustain the whole system but if the money to teach them how to build is tied up in your bank account and empty houses, from where will they get the tools?