Toward the end of his State of the State Address, Gov. Ducey said he's going to get tough on deadbeat dads.
For fathers out there who aren't meeting their obligations, we also have a plan. I'm talking to deadbeat dads. For too long, you've been able to remain anonymous - able to skirt your financial and legal responsibilities with no shame. Not anymore.
Some people have referred to me as the "Hash-tag Governor." Well here's a new one for all the deadbeat dads out there: Effective immediately, the state is going to begin posting the photos, names and money owed by these losers to social media, with the hash-tag "deadbeat."
Earlier in the address, Ducey patted himself on the back for his support of our school children. He spoke of "a monumental, bipartisan, 3.5 billion dollar solution" that will "put our kids and teachers first." He's undeserving of the praise he heaped upon himself. What he's offering to our school children actually makes him and the leaders of the state legislature, Andy Biggs and David Gowan, worthy of being the first recipients of the #deadbeat hashtag.
Here's how Ducey's promise of educational child support should be viewed in the court of public opinion. The state is four years behind on the payment to schools the taxpayers voted for in 2000. Ducey, Biggs and Gowan say, we're not planning to make any back payments. Let's forget about that, wipe out the billion-plus dollars we owe. We'll start paying now, at seventy cents on the dollar. Actually, the payments won't start now. They'll start a year from now. And, really, we can't guarantee we'll start making payments then. That'll only happen if the voters say it's OK. If the voters approve the deal we're offering them, most of the money won't come out of our pockets: the state budget. It'll come out of early payments from the state land trust fund which was set up to help pay for our children's educations now and in the future. Oh, and we'll only keep paying if we can afford it. If in the future our income drops, either because the state economy suffers from bad times or we deplete our coffers by giving tax breaks to our rich friends, we'll stop payment.
That doesn't sound like a "monumental" solution to me. It doesn't sound like Ducey, Biggs and Gowan plan to "put our kids and teachers first." It sounds like deadbeat dads paying as little as they can get away with, and with no guarantee they'll keep making the payments.