Pay Your Bills

progressnowazBlog

We know what happens when everyday Americans don’t pay their bills. Late notices fill the mailbox. Collectors start calling. The matter ends up in court. When these individuals have the resources to pay but refuse to do so, they’re called “dead beats” or “scammers.”

Arizona has a major problem with “dead beat scammers,” or as they are more commonly known, Arizona state legislators.

These scammers promised they’d obey our state’s constitution and pay for the services voters mandated. But instead of paying the bill for school inflationary funding, they pushed aside the late notices, ignored the phone calls and pleas from the schools they’re tasked with funding, and ended up on the losing side of a costly court battle.

They claim they cannot pay their bills because decades of tax cuts for corporate cronies have decreased revenues. Imagine that—cutting revenues leaves…less money for programs. Obviously, basic math skills aren’t required for elected office.

But even with massive losses in revenues, they still have the funds to pay their debt to schools. This spring, the legislature was in such a hurry to end session and close up shop, they made wildly inaccurate guesses about revenues in order to justify additional draconian cuts to education. After tax revenues filtered in, the state was left with a $266 million surplus on top of $460 million in rainy day funds. So, showing my work, I get…

    $266 million    (surplus)

+  $460 million    (rainy day fund)

    $726 million     (extra revenue)

The legislature shorted the schools $330 million. Using simple subtraction, that means…

    $726 million    (extra revenue)

–   $330 million    (debt to schools)

    $396 million    (left over funds)

They can pay their debt to schools and still end up with $396 million in reserve. What great news!

Considering the recent headlines about Arizona’s massive teacher shortage and the fact that our state ranks 50th in state supported revenues, one would think our leaders would be rushing to close the gap. So why aren’t they?

Apparently, this isn’t really about the money. It’s about wanting to prove that they—the dead beats—hold more power than the voters. It’s about tantrums and ideology.

Governor Ducey could put an end to this shameful behavior by calling a special session and demanding the legislature pay their bills. He claims he wants to help schools, that he understands a lack of funding is leading to a crisis in education. So he should take action TODAY to end this lawsuit and stop shortchanging our children. He should demand that legislators pay their bills.