We couldn’t make this stuff up, it’s just too good.
In 2007, fresh off $400 million in tax hikes, Washington’s State Legislature created the position of State Poet Laureate.  Shortly afterward, Governor Chris Gregoire (D) appointed Sam Green to the top job.  The poetry czar is paid $10,000 a year for two years to promote the appreciation of poetry in Washington.  Really!?!  A $20,000 two year boondoggle for a poet?!?
Oh…but it gets better.  Check out this priceless exchange when Governor Gregoire was asked about the state’s Poet Laureate by NBC affiliate KHQ, who recently broke the story:

Governor Gregoire: He doesn’t have a job, he’s a volunteer.
KHQ: Well, he gets paid $20,000.
Governor Gregoire: Oh, I’m not even aware of that, I’m not aware of that, but one thing we are not going to do is come through this difficult time by undercutting essential services, by undercutting our culture, undercutting our education, we need to come out of this strong and ready to go.

Really!?!  An essential service?!  Poets are an essential service?!?  Washington’s unemployment rate jumped from 5.1% to 9.7% in the last year, but I’m really glad the state’s poetry czar is there to keep Seattle’s local poetry slam going strong.  Really!?!

And according to Gregoire’s reasoning, this Poet Laureate will help get us out of the economic slump.  Really!?!  Here’s a brief description of the Poetry Czar’s key contributions to Washington’s economy (from the state’s own website):

Green has served as a visiting poet in a wide range of settings, including universities, public schools, libraries, mental health centers, correctional facilities and poetry festivals. He has been visiting poet and poetry teacher at Seattle University for several years and is active with the Skagit River Poetry Festival.

I’m really glad Gov. Gregoire clarified what qualifies as an essential government service: virtually anything.  The next time someone complains about cuts to "vital" or "essential" services be sure to throw this gem back at them.

This installment of Really!?! with Americans for Tax Reform is based on a recent post from the Center for Fiscal Accountability.