Friday, March 06, 2015

Letter to the Governor #1

I'm going to write 30 of these. I hope they don't get me fired. This one is a bit over-the-top. They get less maudlin, but sadly then, more sarcastic.

Dear Governor Ducey,
I went to bed last night wondering how you could do this to my kids, my students, and this state. I woke up crying. This cannot be happening.  Haven’t you seen what has happened in Wisconsin? Wisconsin has completely starved its universities. Its students. Its kids. And it is a failing state. Minnesota has invested in its people. Look at the difference. Which state is doing better?

Your plan for our government parrots Scott Walker’s. “Walker — facing a 9.2 percent unemployment rate and a $3.6 billion deficit — and the Republican Legislature made massive spending cuts to public education and required most public employees to pay more for their health care and pensions. Some tax credits for lower income residents were reduced. Business tax incentives were added, and taxes were cut nearly $2 billion through a combination of income and property tax reductions.

Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton, on the other hand, went the other route. “Dayton grappled with a $5 billion deficit and after a grueling fight with Republicans that resulted in a government shutdown in 2011, the state balanced its budget in part by borrowing against its commitment to education aid. After the 2012 elections when Democrats took control of the Legislature, taxes were raised on the wealthiest Minnesotans and tobacco taxes were increased.”

The result? “While Wisconsin faces an estimated $2 billion deficit — including a $750 million deficit in transportation spending — Minnesota has a $1.2 billion surplus. Minnesota has the luxury of being able to invest in its state; Wisconsin faces some challenging spending decisions.”

Like Wisconsin, Kansas is almost out of business. Florida is drowning. Arizona, if you continue on this path, will follow suit.

Your willingness to destroy education means that you will eventually destroy this state. No business wants to come to a place where there are more prisoners than students.

Please. I live here too. I beg you to reconsider these draconian cuts. Instead, you should invest in education. Raise taxes on they who can afford it—who reap the benefits of a citizenship that can build a stronger community through technological, cultural and educational advances. Making people smarter will make this state attractive to business, attractive to humans, attractive to the wealthy who, even if you raised taxes the slightest, would pay one of the lowest tax rates around.

Please reconsider. Please do not destroy my family, my schools, my life with your short-sighted plan.

Nicole Walker

1 comment:

Mary Craig said...

Nicole, I'm quite behind, but I'm starting to read this letters today, having come over from the fisherman/bunny essay on ED.