It’s a new legislative session and Governor Ducey has been practicing his best stone cold move; tilting his head ever so slightly and arching his eyebrows. It’s best to look choked up when you’re choking the truth.
Here’s the education speech Governor Ducey didn’t deliver this week:
“My fellow Arizonans, this is the year that we will fully fund public education and raise teacher salaries.”
Quiet boos percolate up in the Legislature. Ducey waves them down.
“Whoa. Here’s the amazing part! Look out Penn & Teller! We’re going to do it without raising taxes!”
Senators leap to a standing ovation. Celebratory gunfire erupts!
“Every fed up business leader in our state has asked me if I would be willing to fund our public schools with a revenue source that’s 100 percent dedicated to education.
“Do you really expect the same maniacs who have been slashing the education budget year after year for 30 gruesome years with the inventive butchery of the ‘Saw’ horror franchise to suddenly agree to fund our schools straight up? To stop throwing Band-Aids at the problem?
“To those fine citizens the Koch brothers have told me to boldly say, ‘ No way!’
“That’s why, yours truly, your Education Governor, will be opting for the traditional Republican budget flimflam that carnival game operators everywhere have looked upon with awe.”
Applause! Dark money lobbyists toss confetti.
“Let’s be honest. The money I’m asking for is a drop in the bucket. And that drop is pure Gila Monster spit.”
“A hundred million in new funding could fit in a hummingbird’s wallet! It’s barely a down payment toward restoring the capital funds for education that were filched during our the Recession by some sidewinders so anxious to rob Peter to pay Paul they broke the law!
“And that’s when we showed the voters where we stood. I’m proud that we’d rather spend money on lawsuits than on public education.”
Standing ovation. Aerial fireworks over the Capitol.
“And year after year the great people of Arizona reelected you sidewinders back to this great chamber!”
Applause. High-fives all around.
“I know when it comes to public education you sidewinders will do the right thing this year, just like we’ve done in the past.”
Bedlam. Senators roll on the floor, laughing.
“Like the time we courageously cut the financially burdensome frills like nurses, counselors, translators, specialists and librarians.”
A lone senator boos librarians.
“I am proud to say Arizona spends less now to educate students than it was spending 10 years ago when ‘Superbad’ was at the movies, a fine film often mistaken for a documentary about our magnificent record on education.”
“Over the last 30 years we’ve pinched billions from public education in this state like pack rats raiding the kibbles. Billions! Gone. Poof! Into the magical corporate giveaway black hole we call trickle-down tax breaks.”
Standing ovation. Legislature breaks out kazoos and performs “Stars and Stripes Forever.” Dark money lobbyists do handstands on the sidelines.
“To truly catch up we should be spending 10 times as much as I’m proposing today, at least a billion a year.”
“But I won’t ask for a billion because we’re having a little trickle-down drought. Like any good Chia Pet salesman will tell you, ‘These things take time.’ It’s obvious we need more cuts.”
Cheers. Whistling. Senator guns chainsaw.
“Last thing the Koch brothers would want is me spending a billion a year on public education. In 2012 I served my Koch masters by crushing the stupid sales tax proposed by the stupid voters to fund Arizona’s public schools just like Darth Vader crushed the Rebellion.
“So why am I making promises to fund the system we hope to destroy and replace with private education? It’s an election year!
“A year when I’ll be talking up Arizona’s great public schools, the same five exclusive academies I’ve been citing over and over and over.”
“What of the 95 percent of our kids in our public schools, the same public schools that we bravely robbed blind for three decades? They should be grateful. Why?”
Governor looks misty-eyed.
“Because we believed that financially crippling education would make it more competitive.”
“In order to continue making education competitive I’ve issued a travel ban on educators fleeing the state and we passed a law allowing any ape to teach, no formal training required. In places like Cactus Flats, actual apes are teaching K-12 students. Spider monkeys, too. If they rattle their empty tin cups at us they’re easier to put down.
“In closing, I look forward to working with all of you, on behalf of the children of this great state as we boldly undertake the great task of appearing to fund our fine public schools without actually paying for them. Let the serious people’s work of duplicitous chicanery begin!”
Celebratory gunfire. Confetti. Standing ovation.