Talk about cheesy! Talk about hypocrisy! Talk about weasels! Talk about betrayal of the public! Talk about disdain for democracy!

The people of Arizona voted overwhelmingly against vouchers, but the Koch-controlled GOP majority in the legislature is promoting a dramatic expansion of vouchers. Voters be damned!

To buy the support of public school parents, the legislators added a big increase in public school funding, but the new funding is available only if the vouchers are enacted.

Arizona has 1.1 million students, but only 11,775 have used vouchers to leave public schools. Now the Republicans want to fund vouchers for every student in the state. Does it matter that multiple academic studies have found that vouchers do not improve education? Of course not.

Do you think these guys know how repellent they are?

Four years after voters rejected a similar move, Republican lawmakers are pushing ahead with a plan to let any of the 1.1 million students in public schools get vouchers to attend private and parochial schools.

And they are holding a plan to boost aid to public schools hostage until they get what they want.

HB 2853, approved Wednesday by the House Ways and Means Committee on a 6-4 party-line vote, would remove all restrictions on who can get what are called Empowerment Scholarship Accounts. Backers say this ensures that parents get to decide what is the best option for their youngsters.

That assertion was disputed by Beth Lewis, executive director of Save Our Schools.

She said that unlike public schools, private schools can pick and choose who they want to accept. Lewis said those schools, many of which are for-profit corporations, accept those who will cost them the least, meaning the highest achievers and students who do not have special needs.

Republicans said they are not ignoring the needs of public schools, voting Wednesday for HB 2854, which would increase state aid to schools by $400 million, above another $250 million additional already planned.

But there’s less there than meets the eye.

First, only half of that additional cash is permanent. And it is weighted so the districts with the most students in financial need would get more.

Beyond that, schools would have to wait until the 2023-24 school year for the one-time $200 million infusion.

And there’s something else.

House Majority Leader Ben Toma, R-Peoria, who crafted both measures, included a “poison pill” of sorts: It says that if the vouchers do not become law, the public schools don’t get any of that $400 million.

That is designed to deter the education community from doing to HB 2853 what they did to a similar voucher expansion measure approved by GOP lawmakers in 2017.

They collected sufficient signatures to put the expansion on the 2018 ballot. And voters overruled the legislation by a margin of close to 2 to 1…

And Lewis told Capitol Media Services that supporters of public education won’t be deterred, vowing to go to the ballot once again if the Republican-controlled legislature approves universal vouchers. She said while that would mean the loss of $400 million — or, really, $200 million of ongoing funds — that is nowhere near the amount that public schools need in Arizona.

She pointed out that voters in 2020 approved Proposition 208 to infuse another nearly $1 billion into public education. That was sidelined after the Arizona Supreme Court ruled the tax could not be levied because it bumped up against a constitutional limit on education spending.

Lewis, the education community and their Democratic allies are not alone in saying schools need more than HB 2854 is offering.

Sen. Paul Boyer, R-Glendale, said he is holding out for an amount close to that $1 billion figure. And with only 16 Republicans in the 30-member Senate, the plan cannot get final approval without his vote.

Wednesday’s votes come as school districts won a significant legal victory, with a judge saying they are entitled to pursue claims that the legislature shorted them billions of dollars.