1. I’ve been stumbling around, writing and scratching my thoughts on the state budget agreement for several days now. I have a draft that I’ll probably scrap centered around the show Whose Line Is It Anyway? It’s full of fun parallels between the show’s central premise and the sources of revenue around which the budget is framed.
In this case, though, we should say that the sources of revenue are made up and the numbers don’t matter. Maybe, if the marginal well tax generates $120 million, as we have budgeted for it to do, we won’t have a revenue failure next year. Sure, it’s never generated more than $20 million, but that doesn’t mean we can’t believe. Maybe if we wish hard enough…
I just don’t want to do that right now. At the expense of my civility, I was working together quite the hilarious post. Instead, just let me be direct.
Speaking as a superintendent, here’s what I know:
- Due to three state revenue failures (wait for it – there will be one in June), we spent considerably more money in the fiscal year that ends June 30 than we generated. Thus, we have eaten through much of our fund balance (carryover).
- The systems that typically equalize funding differences among school districts also failed this year. In our case, this amounted to an additional loss of $1.5 million.
- Next year’s “flat” budget starts at this year’s end point. In other words, the losses endured by districts this school year will be felt again next year. If districts don’t cut spending, they will again spend more than they receive. That can’t go on forever.
- The budget was made flat, in part, as I referenced above, by counting on revenue sources that will never generate the funds that are in the official state budget. It was also aided by emptying the State Department of Education’s Activities Budget. This includes money for textbooks, alternative education, and the Reading Sufficiency Act, among other things. For Mid-Del, this is an additional loss of more than a million dollars.
- I know I’m not the only superintendent who believes that the budget will hold until after elections. Then, and only then, will we face another revenue failure and more mid-year cuts.
- Nothing about the forecast for our state’s economy tells me we’ll be dealing with anything better next year.
2. The points may not matter, but your vote does. So does that of your representatives and senators. SB 1616 passed the Senate by a vote of 30-16. It passed the House by a vote of 52-45. All the Democrats voted no. Many Republicans joined them. For some, it was because the budget contained elements that resembled tax increases. For others, it failed to address the reasons our budget has collapsed in the first place.
Sen. Mike Mazzei was blunt about his disappointment:
I argued against the budget on the Senate floor and voted against it for the following reasons:
1. The budget is once again propped up by one time money sources and borrowed dollars totaling $620 million.
2. Borrowing $200 million to prop up state’s expenditures could lead to a credit rating downgrade.
3. We did not restore funding from the FY16 automatic cuts to k-12 education and education funding as a percentage of overall revenues since I have been a State Senator has now fallen from 36% to 27%.
4. In spite of numerous promises after last year’s budget, we did not give teachers a pay raise. Legislator pay ranks in the top 20 nationally while Oklahoma teacher pay has sunk to 49th.
5. Although we did pass several tax reform bills which I wrote to save $262.8 million, our finance reform efforts did not address the super expensive wind power tax credit which will cost the state nearly $100 million this next fiscal year.
6. Without a teacher pay raise, insufficient funding for k-12 schools and a whopping $90 million cut to higher education we provided no alternative to the tax payers for the November ballot question to increase the Oklahoma sales tax by 20%.
7. In spite of a lot of talk at the beginning of session, no $1 million plus state agencies were consolidated or eliminated.
8. Also discussed significantly at the beginning of session were necessary changes to the so called “off the top” money that is diverted to special projects. Much of this is state tax payer money that funnels back to the counties. We did a big $0 of this much needed reform.
9. When the budget agreement was announced on Tuesday, Senators were assured that the mega expensive wind tax credit cost would be reduced, but the Oklahoma House failed to fulfill that end of the negotiated bargain.
10. The very successful ROADS program which has grown over 200% since 2008 will still receive its automatic $60 million increase even though revenues are down approximately 12%.
11. To avoid another financial crisis next year, General Revenues will have to increase over 10% next year. There is simply not enough growth in our national or state economy at this point for even 3% revenue growth.
12. The Oklahoma House increased their expenditure amount by $1.8 million. Shocking!
An extraordinary financial mess requires extraordinary financial fixes. Half measures and borrowing money just doesn’t cut it. The Senate did not push hard enough for major financial reforms and fiscal prudence. Sadly, that which matters most, producing an ever increasing number of college and career ready graduates was short shrifted once again.
To his credit, Mazzei tried all session to get his fellow Republicans to roll back the most recent round of tax cuts. The benefit to the working class Oklahoman is negligible. The cost to state agencies is tremendous. As I keep saying, there’s nothing conservative about letting core state services crumble around you.
Senator David Holt, in comments to the Oklahoman was more succinct:
“The thing that is disappointing to me the most this session is Oklahomans were paying attention to the priorities of this legislature more than in the six years I have been here,” Sen. David Holt, R-Oklahoma City, said. “But as that attention increased our focus on the budget seemed to actually get worse. We didn’t respond to that attention in the way that I think we should have.”
I can’t argue with that. We are definitely paying attention more than ever. And as a body, the Legislature failed to meet that challenge. The government as a whole did, in fact. The governor presented ideas. So did individuals in the House and the Senate. Whether it was a three-cent increase to the gas tax or a buck-fifty per pack of cigarettes, or – God forbid – accepting $900 million in federal funds to expand Medicare and stabilize one of the safety nets in place for Oklahoma’s most vulnerable citizens, we couldn’t come to any agreement. We didn’t make progress.
We rolled back tax credits for the poor, but we didn’t touch the hundreds of millions that we give to corporations that pay back nothing:
Some state lawmakers justified their decision to curtail a tax credit for the working poor by declaring that the state shouldn’t be subsidizing people who owe no income taxes in the first place.
But the state has several tax breaks on the books that do essentially the same thing for businesses. Through a combination of direct refunds, rebates and tax credit “transfers,” companies with no income tax liability are receiving cash subsidies.
In some cases, the state pays the money to them directly. In some cases, they get the cash by selling credits they can’t use to taxpayers who can use them.
You should read the entire Oklahoma Watch article. It’s infuriating.
Meanwhile, our schools, our prisons, our roads, our nursing homes, and our hospitals are in serious trouble. Our governor may be the co-chair of the Republican National Party’s platform committee, but our government is broken. Argue that point with me. I’m waiting.
All of this is a direct result of the people we elect. Register to vote (by June 3rd). Know your representatives and senators. Many of them face viable primary opponents, as well as November challengers.
Call them. Email them. They still want to hear from you. Let them know that no matter their intentions, the results are unacceptable.
Cut after cut, year after year, our children pay the price. Our whole state does.
Everything is made up, and the numbers do matter. The budget numbers matter. The voter registration numbers matter. The votes in four weeks matter…but only if you do something about it.
1. Yesterday, HB 3218 passed the House by a vote of 95-1:
Oklahoma students currently are required to pass four of seven tests in specific subject areas in order to graduate.
The bill would remove the requirement for the end-of-instruction tests, which would no longer be required for high school graduation.
The state Board of Education would be authorized to create new graduation requirements. The board, in cooperation with other entities, also would be asked to develop a statewide system of student assessment, which would be subject to approval from the Oklahoma Legislature.
The bill would make the 2016-17 school year a transition year and would require students to take the new assessment or assessments beginning in school year 2017-18.
If the Senate passes this bill and the governor signs it, we would have a slow transition away from End-of-Instruction exams, and the ACE graduation requirements would be a thing of the past. Graduation should not be linked to testing, and for that alone, I am grateful. With four days to go in the legislative session, I hope this bill keeps moving forward and becomes law.
As Rob Miller wrote last night:
With today’s action in Oklahoma, along with similar movements across our nation, I hope we are starting to recognize that education and success in life is more than doing well on a bubble test. And how a young child performs on any standardized assessment given on any one day of their life will NEVER be an accurate measure of their potential value to our world.
Human beings are not standardized and no set of standards, no curriculum, and no assessment will ever capture the true essence of what it means to be an educated person, or a person of efficacy.
The message HB 3218 sends is that our Legislature is beginning to understand this. They’re listening to educators, parents, and students more than ever before.
2. I’ll avoid discussing the budget today. By the end of the week there will be one. Of that I’m certain. Whether it will protect education, trample on the state’s poorest citizens, or resemble something Lewis Carroll would have written – that all remains to be seen.
Instead, I’ll stay positive. Below is a video from one of our middle school students to our teachers.
This is one of the videos we took of students at the end of the school year. After seeing her speak, I wanted to meet her, so I did. Sometimes it’s good to be the superintendent.
I don’t know how many thank you messages we recorded in all from our students to their teachers, but I know the whole video made the end of the year even more special.
Even if your year has already ended, think about the students we serve and what they mean to us. If you’re fortunate, they’ve shared their gratitude with you too.
I’ve had a couple of days away from budgets and politics. In case you too need the respite, here is my commencement address to our three graduating classes of 2016:
Graduates, congratulations! Parents, congratulations! Teachers and principals, congratulations! Today we’re celebrating hundreds of individual accomplishments, but we’re also celebrating the collective contribution of each of you here. These students enter the world from high school – whether it be college, work, or anything else – on the heels of the caring adults who have taught them. They enter the world with the friendships They’ve developed during this time as well.
Students, you come here today with memories and hopes and dreams. You have goals and ambitions. You have certainty, and yet you face the unknown. I’ve talked with many of you. I know you have plans for the next four years, and then the 10 years after that. Well hold on for the ride. Some of what you have planned will unfold exactly as you expect it to. And then some won’t.
There’s no perfect blueprint for adulting – that’s a word I’ve learned from my own children who have entered post-high school life. Well, it’s not really a word, but a short time ago, many of the things we say now weren’t officially words either. When I was in high school, there was no Internet. One of my favorite words – blog – is only a little more than a decade old. The words photobomb and re-tweet were just added to the dictionary last year.
Another of my favorite words, though, is gif – G-I-F. You may think it’s a recent addition to the language but it actually dates all the way back to 1987, when I really was in high school. It’s an acronym that we use as a word. It stands for Graphics Interchange Format. Those of us who are on social media much at all think of gifs as short intervals of video that are cut to form a continuous loop. Basically, they’re the same five or ten seconds repeating again and again and again.
They’re funny. They’re sometimes effective tools for illustrating a point. And sometimes, they’re just obnoxious ways for cat owners to express themselves.
What they are not, however, is a blueprint for adulting. You don’t want to repeat the same 10 seconds of your life over and over, and you certainly don’t want to repeat someone else’s life over and over again. It’s your future out there. They’re your decisions to make – your triumphs, your mistakes, your struggles, your accomplishments.
When the good things you’re bound to experience happen, treasure them. Take pictures and videos. Tweet them to friends and family. Throw them out on Instagram and Snapchat. Add captions. Relive them through the magic of Timehop, or whatever comes next in the way of social media. Getting caught up in a moment is a great thing sometimes. Just don’t be stuck in an endless, repeating loop.
As you exit high school, you have a certain number of choices before you. What you’ve done to this point has helped determine whether that’s a high number or low number. As you get older, you’ll still have choices to make. You can choose a career path now, and you can change your mind in a couple of years. It’s easier to do that at 20 or 22 than it is at 33 or 44 or 55. The older you get, more people will be impacted by the choices you make.
I can just think of two critical things you don’t want, though. One is to let other people determine who you should be. As hard as it is for your family to hear sometimes, you are the person who has to figure that out. Nobody else gets to choose where you live, how you make money, or even what you want to name your children. If you’re fortunate, you’ll have an endless stream of unsolicited advice. Sometimes it will even feel like pressure. Just remember, though, sometimes the best path is the one nobody saw coming.
The other thing is not to let your life unfold so that you look back on high school and say, Those really WERE the best years of my life. Don’t peak at 18 or 19. Even if you loved every minute of high school – and I know you did – make the next four years even better. Then, make the next four years even better than that. You can always climb higher than where you are right now.
And when you hit a rough patch along the way – whether it’s because you made certain choices, or it’s because sometimes, bad luck just lands on us – figure out what went wrong and change your path. Don’t spend another year, or four years, or 10 or 20 years, beating yourself up, wondering what went wrong.
Your life is not a gif. As much as you don’t want to keep a highlight reel on in the background at all times, recycling the same moments again and again, you definitely don’t want to relive the unfortunate times more than you have to.
It’s a great world out there. It’s huge. It’s great to be a (Bomber/Eagle/Titan), but you can be even more than that. Some of you are going to be Raiders, or Sooners, or Cowboys, or Bronchos, or any number of other things. You’re going to become mothers and fathers, and someday, in the very distant future, even grandparents. You’re going to go to work, and some of you will even become somebody’s boss.
And when you do all of this, when you’re smack-dab in the middle of adulting, I hope you’ll look back at your time in high school – really, at all ages of schooling – as something better than a gif. I hope you’ll see it as a gift – that’s with a T on the end. Wherever you go in the world, I hope you’ll see the value in educating our youth, and building this country’s future.
Leave home. Come back and visit. Email your principals, counselors, and teachers and let them know how you’re doing. Call your parents often. Never forget your roots. They’re what give you the strength to pick the path that’s ahead of you – the path you choose, whether it’s the one less-traveled, or the one with all the tread.
Congratulations, and good luck, Class of ’16!
I’ve written enough this week, but I still have more blogging to do. Maybe it’s time for another voice, though. For that, I’ll turn to long time blog follower and Bixby Public Schools educator, Jessica Jernegan.
In light of my less than productive capitol visit on Tuesday, and today’s legislative foolery, I just can’t keep this saved on my desktop any longer. Take or leave it, just my (frustration induced) two cents.
An Open Letter to Our Oklahoma State Legislature:
First and foremost, these suggestions do not apply to all of you, so let me say, just as I do in my classroom, you know who you are.
Below you’ll find just a few humble suggestions from a disheartened teacher who’s had enough.
1. STOP WASTING TIME on legislation that is both pointless and fiscally irresponsible. When we can define bills as, “an emotional distraction,” you’re not doing your job.
2. When teachers, parents, and administrators from your districts make the drive, week after week, to the capitol to meet with you, SHOW UP. There is never, and will never, be a situation at our schools in which we tell kids/parents “she’s gone for the day.” You are, by definition, a representative, act like it.
3. It is absolutely despicable that it is currently May 19th and we don’t have a BUDGET. I can guarantee you one thing, if your jobs depended upon it, as ours do, it would be done. Do your part to retain teachers in our state. Don’t leave them in limbo, wondering about their employment, or lack there of, while you waste time on issues that are irrelevant in the face of our current crisis.
4. RESPECT us as professionals. When we talk with you about state mandated testing, student impact, teacher evaluations, school funding, and teacher salaries, LISTEN TO US. We know what we are talking about. Give us the same professional courtesy you give your doctor. We care about the health of our public schools and the future of the students they serve. Treat us as if our opinion matters and is valid, because it does, and it is!
Thank you to those to which these suggestions do not apply, keep fighting the good fight. You know who you are.
Proud Oklahoma Teacher
To that, I’ll just add that Oklahomans are watching. Get a budget passed. Make sure it’s grounded in reality this time. We’ll be voting accordingly.
Yesterday during lunch, I wrote about a re-emerging threat to Oklahoma teachers: the plan to cap insurance expenses and pretend to give teachers raises. So far, that hasn’t gone anywhere, but it’s one of many last ditch plans to “fix” the Oklahoma budget and its $1.3 billion hole.The problem with a lot of these plans is that they pop up at the last minute, often leaving us with dire, unintended consequences.
Speaking of unintended consequences, apparently, that wasn’t supposed to be public information yet:
Hickman said even he was confused when committee substitutes to House Bills 3213 and 3214 began appearing in representatives’ email inboxes shortly before 10 a.m. Tuesday, with the notation that they had been added to the agenda of a 1 p.m. Appropriations and Budget Committee meeting.
Currently, I count 12 bills in the House alone that aim to “help” with the budget in general, and in theory, with teacher pay too. I may have missed something, though. Let me quickly run through them, providing very little commentary for most.
HB 3205 – This measure would shorten the window for recollecting overpayment of sales tax from three to two years. The fiscal impact statement attached to it estimates the state would keep an extra $10 million per year. This bill has passed the House. I have mixed feelings. On one hand, if you’ve overpaid, you should get your money back. On the other hand, I don’t expect the OTC to keep files open indefinitely.
HB 3206 – The Office of Management and Enterprise Services (OMES) will analyze reserve funds available and compare them with cash flow needs of the state. This bill has been sent to the Governor for signature, but there is no fiscal impact statement.
HB 3207 – This bill simply orders the Grand River Dam Authority to transfer $9.5 million to the state’s General Fund. It hasn’t been heard on the floor yet.
HB 3208 – This is a funky one. Every Oklahoman who owns a car would be required to get a new car tag – ostensibly a shinier one – you know, for safety, and for the kids. This increases our costs, and for no good reason. Besides, I already have a tag I really like.
HB 3209 – This bill would require OMES to make cuts to apportioned allocations in the case of a state revenue failure – you know, like the ones we’ve experienced this year. The interesting part is that some funds can be cut by less:
When the certification by the State Board of Equalization for the forthcoming fiscal year General Revenue Fund is less than that of the current fiscal year certification, all revenue apportionments made by the Tax Commission shall be reduced by the same percentage, except for the following:
1. Education Reform Revolving Fund;
2. Apportionments of revenue to any of the following: a. Oklahoma Firefighters Pension and Retirement System, b. Oklahoma Police Pension and Retirement System, c. Uniform Retirement System for Justices and Judges, d. Oklahoma Law Enforcement Retirement System, e. Teachers’ Retirement System of Oklahoma, and f. Oklahoma Public Employees Retirement System;
3. The Oklahoma Higher Learning Access Program;
4. Any apportionments provided for by law in order to fulfill commitments made by the State of Oklahoma pursuant to any compact with a federally recognized Indian Tribe;
5. The Rebuilding Oklahoma Access and Driver Safety (ROADS) Fund;
6. Any apportionment of revenue to a county or other political subdivision for the purpose of road, bridge or other transportationrelated funding;
7. The General Revenue Fund;
8. The Building Bonds Sinking Fund;
9. Any apportionment required for payment of incentives pursuant to the Oklahoma Quality Jobs Program Act; and
10. Any apportionment required for an internal fund of the Oklahoma Tax Commission.
You know, the bill doesn’t say that any of these ten funds will be cut less. It just says they won’t necessarily receive the same percentage cuts. In theory, that means they could get cut worse. That’d never happen, right?
HB 3210 – This bill would raise cigarette taxes in hopes of generating about $190 million in new funding per year. Or it will make smokers buy their habit at a duty free shop instead of a convenience store. Or they’ll quit. That’s probably a smart decision too.
HB 3211 – Once you’ve given up smoking, you’ll want to give up drinking low-point beer too. This bill nearly quadruples the state tax on watered-down suds. The fiscal impact statement estimates an increase of $46 million/year to the state.
HB 3212 – Again, we’re raising taxes through legislative action. Grover Norquist won’t be happy! This time, it’s a three-cent tax on each gallon of gas, and it goes away if the average price of a gallon in Oklahoma hits $3.00. Honestly, this is probably feasible. A lot of gas is bought here by people just passing through. To me, it’s similar to cities with a robust tourism industry taxing hotels. This could be another $41.5 million. That being said, the committee vote was 9-14. It’s dead. Or dead-ish.
Nothing is really ever dead at the Capitol. That’s why some of my friends and I are still watching for a phantom voucher bill.
HB 3213 – This is a really interesting one. When you click on the text of the measure, all you see is static language of a shell bill. Nothing happens. When you look at the bill summary for the committee substitute, it’s funkadelic:
The committee substitute for HB3213 refers to a vote of the people numerous changes to the Oklahoma sale and use tax code. If approved, the measure would increase the state sales and use tax rate from 4.5 percent to 4.9 percent and expands the list of services and property subject to sales or use tax.
The list includes: water, sewage and refuse from a utility or public service company; computer programming, design and analysis services; repair, installation, delivery and maintenance services when provided in conjunction with the sale of tangible personal property; pet grooming services; landscaping services; storage of furs; marina services; carpet and upholstery cleaning services; laundry, diaper and dry cleaning services; swimming pool cleaning and maintenance services; exterminating and pest control services; tire recapping and retreading services; computer software that is electronically delivered; digital products; auto repair services; video programming services; leases and rental of aircraft; overnight trailer park rental; telephone answering services and welding services.
Revenue from the increased rate would be used to fund a teacher pay raise, which is authorized by a companion measure, HB3214. In the event that HB3214 is enacted into law and voters do not approve the changes proposed in HB3213, then the teacher pay raise would not be authorized.
The measure would also modify the apportionment of sales and use tax to various funds effective January 1, 2017 and each year thereafter.
Changes in Apportionment by Percentage:
-General Revenue Fund would decrease from 83.16 percent to 71.74 percent;
-Education Reform Revolving Fund would increase from 10.46 percent to 23.17 percent;
-Teachers’ Retirement System Dedicated Revenue Revolving Fund would decrease from 5.0 percent to 4.29 percent,
-Oklahoma Tourism Promotion Revolving Fund and Oklahoma Tourism Capitol Improvement Revolving Fund would decrease from .87 percent to .7475 percent.
-Oklahoma Historical Society Capital Improvement and Operations Revolving Fund wou;d decrease from .06 percent to .0525 percent.
Fiscal Analysis The measure is currently under review and impact information will be completed.
So the House is proposing a state question to compete with David Boren’s penny sales tax. How diabolical!
We’re going to raise the state sales tax by four-tenths of a percent, and we’re going to tax your lawn guy and pool boy. Need new brakes? That’s a tax. Interesting move. I’m sure we’ll enjoy reading the actual bill when it appears too.
HB 3214 – As I wrote yesterday, this bill has no text online other than the static shell bill language. There are also no amendments, committee substitutes, or fiscal impact statements posted.
Supposedly, this bill will turn into the vehicle by which the House tries to fake giving us a raise by taking our Obamacare away from us. We can’t see that from here, but I trust people who know.
I also trust math. Supposedly, the Affordable Care Act (ACA) has driven up the rates of teacher health insurance. Below are the monthly premium costs for HealthChoice High since 2008. The first year that premiums would’ve been affected by ACA would be 2011.
|Calendar Year||Monthly Premium (FBA)||Dollar Increase||Annual Percent Increase|
The truth is that insurance costs have been rising for decades. Obamacare doesn’t seem to have stopped it, but it doesn’t seem to have accelerated it either. If you love saying it and riling people up, that’s great. It’s also a distraction. It’s completely irrelevant to a discussion about teacher pay.
HB 3215 – This one really confuses me. The posted bill is a shell. No amendments, bill summaries, or committee substitutes have been posted. Yet Monday, the Joint Committee on Appropriations and Budget voted it down by a 16-18 vote. I don’t even know how that works.
HB 3216 – All shell. No amendments, summaries, fiscal impacts, or votes. Anything could happen here.
In summary, it’s not fair to say our Legislature hasn’t been doing anything. They’re sliding shells around the table and courting Constitutional challenge. They’re doing anything but admitting that their policies – their tax cuts – have had anything to do with the budget shortfall our state faces. It’s not all of them, but it seems to be a lot.
Somewhere in these bills, there’s a solution. It’s probably just hiding in plain sight.
The House of Representatives plans to discuss HB 3214 this afternoon. All we can find on line is a one page shell bill:
STATE OF OKLAHOMA
2nd Session of the 55th Legislature (2016)
HOUSE BILL 3214
By: Sears and Casey of the House
and Jolley and Treat of the Senate
An Act relating to revenue and taxation; enacting the Oklahoma Revenue and Taxation Act of 2016; providing for noncodification; and providing an effective date.
BE IT ENACTED BY THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF OKLAHOMA:
SECTION 1. NEW LAW A new section of law not to be codified in the Oklahoma Statutes reads as follows: This act shall be known and may be cited as the “Oklahoma Revenue and Taxation Act of 2016”.
SECTION 2. This act shall become effective November 1, 2016.
55-2-9980 MAH 05/12/16
That’s it. That’s the whole bill. According to House Minority Leader Scott Inman, though, there’s more:
This simply is not ok. Any attempt to cap teacher health benefits in the name of a raise is a farce. Please contact your representative (or four or five) and let them know you’re watching. Even though we can’t see what the bill they’ll be discussing, that doesn’t mean we have to be in the dark.
|Bennett, John R.||(405)firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Billy, Lisa J.||(405)email@example.com|
|Casey, Dennis Ray (VC)||(405)firstname.lastname@example.org|
|Sears, Earl (C)||(405)email@example.com|
Quickly this morning, I want to tell you what I told my Leadership Team this week. I know we’re crazy busy. We’re stressed over budgets. Ending the year and planning the next one amid uncertainty is driving us mad.
For my district, though, this is our last week with this group of kids. Find moments to put the stress aside. Enjoy the senior breakfasts, awards dinners, super kids days, and graduations. That’s why we do what we do. That’s why we stress in the first place.
Instead of a song or a meme today, I’ll just give you two quotes:
- After all, life hasn’t much to offer except youth, and I suppose for older people, the love of youth in others. – F. Scott Fitzgerald
- Love makes your soul crawl out from its hiding place. – Zora Neale Hurston
One week: remember the one thing that matters.
And fine, here’s one song: