Monday, March 09, 2015

Letter #6. Pennies on the dollar.

Dear Governor Ducey,

You say that you can’t spend money where there is none but you have gone out of your way, it seems, to ensure there is no money for medicare, hospitals, schools, or universities. The one cent sales tax that was allowed to expire in May 2013. $900 million dollars in revenue dedicated to the people has evaporated and no revenue has been designed to replace it.  Think back, before you were governor, and you were paying that one cent per dollar that went to education. Do you remember the taco, $1.99 in May of 2013, $1.97 now in March of 2015? Do you remember that bottle of wine? $14.54 today, $14.68 almost two years ago? Do you remember that dinner with the men in black suits that cost $101 last year, only $100 now. Have you hoarded all those pennies for the past 22 months? Do you feel like you really have now more money to invest in things you find more important? Like a new garbage can or a new suit?

Pennies do add up, I get your point, and yet one penny per dollar to make a state become something more than a minus sign, to make a state more than a broken state, to make a state that is finding a way toward sustainable growth rather than inert blocks of prison. A penny, with which, a long time ago, you could buy a gum ball, now buys nothing on its own but a collection of them buys a teacher, a scholarship, a speech therapist, a gifted and talented program, a grant for undergraduate research, a grant for research to save the ponderosas, a grant to figure out where Arizona’s going to get its water as the Colorado River runs lower and lower.

Think about a penny. How perfectly round, how supply it slips into a loafer, how bold a penny is, in its, way—so orange and sunset-y—bold like Arizona could be bold—a leader in education, in supporting its citizens, in finding alternative energies using this big fat penny-like sun, a million pennies rising higher and higher, lifting its students up on a platform as tall as a skyscraper, to reach into the future instead of hiding in the sand. A million pennies to build a bridge from the bottom of school spending to the top. Did you notice how many pennies you’ve saved since May of 2013? How many pennies have you thrown away? How could I convince you these pennies are more than change in a drawer, that they’re the change we need, that they are worth their weight in gold?

1 comment:

Mary Craig said...

Nice imagery and sense-making.