Two Examples of How to Cut Spending

Mayor Burchett of Knoxville and Mayor Terry Frank of Anderson County both put forth budgets that had cuts.  These are examples for other local governments to follow.

http://knoxcounty.org/news/index.php?id=77

http://oakridgetoday.com/2013/05/10/frank-proposes-cuts-in-county-property-tax-rate-law-directors-budget/

Posted in Local News, Local Politics, News, Politics, Tennessee News, Tennessee Politics | Leave a comment

Text of My Argument Against Greene County Wheel Tax to be Presented at Today’s Commission Meeting

In McCulloch v Maryland, Chief Justice John Marshall opined, “An unlimited power to tax involves, necessarily, a power to destroy; because there is a limit beyond which no institution and no property can bear taxation.”

We stand here today looking at another potential tax increase, just under a year since the last increase.

We, the people of Greene County, are taxed at an amount that is breaking some and angering more.

While Chief Justice John Marshall was not referring to a tax on the people, his words do ring true today.  The people of Greene County are at that limit where we cannot bear more taxation, whether it be on automobiles or property.

Our 30th president, Calvin Coolidge stated “The collection of taxes which are not absolutely required, which do not beyond reasonable doubt contribute to the public welfare, is only a species of legalized larceny.”

Those of us who have looked closely at the budget and the spending of our county are many times left wondering if things are absolutely required and truly do contribute to the public welfare.  We know that at least part of the taxation we face is nothing more than legalized theft.

Don’t steal more money from the taxpayers of Greene County.

Our Founding Father, the author of the Declaration of Independence, and our 3rd President of these United States, Thomas Jefferson, said it best when he said, “Excessive taxation…will carry reason and reflection to every man’s door, and particularly in the hour of election.”

It is unfortunate that many of you have already voted for increased taxation.  Some of you have voted for wheel tax or property tax increases in the past, while some of you have not.  The fact is however, that many of you have indirectly voted for increased taxes when you voted for increases of spending.  You vote for it when you give money to non-profits.  You vote for it when you vote to give extra money to airports.  Much of the spending of this county is simply just not needed, nor is it yours to give.

I and many others will be help bring that reason and reflection that Jefferson spoke of to each voter in Greene County to make sure that you hear us next election day.  It is unfortunate that the prospect of reelection is what causes our elected officials to hear our voices.  Yet, I ask you to hear our voice now.  Vote against any more taxation be it a wheel tax, a property tax, or the bloated budgets and increased spending we too often see.

Thank you.

Posted in Local News, Local Politics, News, Politics | Leave a comment

Statement from Josh Arrowood over Concerns of His Seeking Role of Greene County Mayor

I realize that there are several concerns about my chosen profession and the fact that I have made a decision to seek elective office.  There are concerns that I will be for increasing funds to the school systems and voting for increases in funding toward teachers.

Most people like getting raises.  Unfortunately, in our present economic mess, most businesses are unable to give raises.  I was fortunate enough to get a 3 percent raise in pay from last school year to this year.

I 100 percent guarantee that you never heard me say I was not compensated enough for my job.  I 100 percent guarantee that you never saw me behaving inappropriately at a county commission meeting or a school board meeting.  As a matter of fact, I did consider requesting to speak at the infamous county commission meeting when land taxes were increased, though I probably would not have said something that you would have expected from a teacher.  I knew that had I gone and not been allowed to speak, however, that I would have been viewed as being there in favor of the increase.  Had I been allowed to speak, I would have gained nothing from it as the commissioners knew how they were voting at that time.  I did send letters to some commissioners who I knew were either in favor of the increase or on the fence prior to the meeting.

I voted against the wheel tax increase at the polls.  I let my voice be heard in regards to the property tax increase.

There are some misconceptions about what the tax increase went toward.  It is my complete understanding that was not for my pay raise.  The state mandated a 3 percent increase on the state portion of teacher pay.  That had no effect on Greene County taxes.  That state mandated increase did not mandate an increase on the local portion of teacher pay, but the school board voted to increase that local portion as well.

http://www2.greenek12.org/Portals/GreeneTn/District/docs/School%20Board/2012-2013%20Certified%20Salary%20Schedule.pdf

The above link gives a break down in the salary schedule for Greene County teachers.  I have only a bachelor’s degree and 5 years of experience.  That makes my local portion of pay $3499.  I didn’t have the number handy from last year so I figured out what it was by the following formula:

x + .03x = $3499       x = $3397        increase = $102

The variable x is what my local portion would have been without the 3 percent increase.  I added that .03x which represents the 3 percent increase.  Once I found out how much the local portion would have been without the increase, I simply subtracted that number from the local portion this year to find out how much more I received as a result of the 3 percent increase on that local portion.

My wife’s breakdown looks like this:

x + .03x = $2530     x = 2456         increase = $74

Add both our increases to get a $176 on the local portion for the year.

Curious, I called to find out how much my property taxes went up from one year to the next.  This year, with the increase, I paid $1265.  Previously I paid $1117.  I paid $148 more property tax than the previous year.

So if you want to put things in perspective, my wife and I came $28 ahead on the property tax increase.

Raises are nice, but at a time when many privately owned companies are not receiving raises, it is problematic for the government to use tax money to give raises.

Now, you are probably wondering where that deficit occurred that required tax increases.  Just a few years ago, Tennessee qualified for Race to the Top funds awarded by the federal government (No where under the US Constitution is there anything that allows the federal government to be involved in education at all, but that is another story).  Greene County received a portion of Race to the Top funds, which were funds that would only be available for a short period of time.

I cannot specifically say where each dollar of that went, but I do know of several positions that were created during that time.  I won’t say that these positions were needed, nor will I say they were needed.  I won’t say any wrongdoing was done in hiring these positions.  I am simply telling you where that money went.  I have my beliefs on which positions, if any were needed, and which positions, if any, were not needed.  That isn’t what I am discussing here.  I know several of the people in these positions that do what is asked of them.  I am simply stating where it seems the lack of money came in.

There were two positions created at Central Office.  Both were part-time positions that were filled by recent retirees.  One was a bus supervisor/athletic director position filled by Clark Justis.  The other Central Office position was filled by Yhona Jones.

There were four academic coach positions created which serve the elementary/middle schools.  There were also 16-18 reading specialist positions created.  Funding was also provided for reading specialists to get a Master’s Degree.

As I said, I can’t be sure where all the funding came from or is coming from, but those Race to the Top funds are gone.  Those positions are still there (again, not saying those positions are needed or unneeded).

Being a teacher should not be a scarlet letter.  I teach because I enjoy teaching.  I don’t complain about the money.

I hate taxes.  I think the property tax is at the highest point that it should ever be at.  I want to see it reduced.  I want to see a 2/3 or 3/4 majority needed to request a property tax increase.  At that point, it should be put to a vote of the voters of the county.

As a matter of fact, I question how the government should be able to tax us for something that we own.  Nevertheless, that is a tax we are stuck with until it can be eliminated.

I would like to see the wheel tax eliminated.  I lived in Washington County when the county commission wanted a wheel tax.  I was a proud signer of the petition to defeat the wheel tax, and I even collected a few signatures to help defeat it.  It was just another tax option for the county government to use to steal from its citizens.

I am a liberty/constitutional Republican.  I have gone outside the Republican Party in my voting if I was unable to support a big government nominee.  I have voted for Constitution Party candidates; I have voted for Libertarian candidates.

If you were to examine my voting, you will see that I am NOT someone who will vote for any type of higher taxes.  You would see that I do NOT want more spending.

Unfortunately in Greene County, we have several “Republicans” in government, who if it were illegal to be a Republican, they would be safe because there is not enough evidence to convict them of being what a Republican should be.  If elected, I will make sure you know who is wasting your tax money and increasing your taxes.  I will even promise to help see them defeated if they run for re-election.

I expect you to hold me to a very high standard on economic and tax issues.  If I ever help a tax increase or big spending, you don’t need to wait and vote me out.  You need to get the voters together to come chase me out with pitchforks.  You won’t have to worry about that.

I am not here from the government to help; I want you to help put me in the government to stop government abuses.  That’s why I am running.

We have Democrats making a mess of things in Greene County who believe that your money belongs to them.  They believe low taxes do not help economically.  They believe throwing money at problems make those problems go away.

The Democrats are not the problem, however.  The big problem is that we have “Republicans” who believe that your money belongs to them.  They believe that low taxes are not good for economic development.  They believe throwing money at those problems make those problems go away.

We need to get rid of the big government loving politicians in both parties from the local levels all the way up to the national level.  We CANNOT afford to have them in positions of power.

If you have any questions about my beliefs and my stances, just ask.

(Nothing in this post is meant to demean anyone in any teaching position or within the school system.  It is merely a response to those who think that the tax increase was meant solely for teachers’ pay increases and for those who believe that I would be in favor of more taxes/spending.  The numbers that would be required for 3% on solely teacher pay does not add up to what the tax increase incurred.  There were other positions created during these times — again not saying whether they were needed or not as I am running for mayor and the mayor does not decide how the school system spends money.)

(Via a comment, I have been told that money for academic coaches came from federal title money.)

Posted in Local News, Local Politics, News, Politics | 1 Comment

Greene County Taxation

Taxation

In 2012, Greene County voters were asked to vote on a wheel tax increase.    Many argued that if a wheel tax increase was voted down, a property tax increase would be put in its place.  Those people voted for a wheel tax increase.  Still a vote on the wheel tax increase lost.

The people did not just vote against a wheel tax increase.  The people voted against any tax increase.  Our leaders do not understand that.

The school system was able to effectively rally some of the teachers when a county commissioner e-mailed teachers to come to the commission meeting, and able to stir up a community by claiming that the commission would be closing a school when the commission does not open nor close schools.

The fake grassroots movement of teachers and fear mongering against the community combined with a lack of leadership throughout our county was able to force an unneeded tax increase onto our already overburdened taxpayers.

We lacked any real leadership on several levels.  We had a mayor who did not take on the fight against the tax increase.  We even had commissioners who had more important things to tend to than protect us against a tax increase.

When you think of our TAX PROBLEM in Greene County, I want you to think of the TRUST that you can place in me to FIGHT AGAINST ALL TAX INCREASES.

I will OPPOSE ALL TAX INCREASES and SUPPORT DECREASES in TAXES.

I will actively campaign against any commissioners who want to raise YOUR taxes.  I will make sure you know their names.

In order for YOU to get that type of representation, I must have YOUR vote.  Place YOUR confidence in ME.

Posted in Local Politics | Leave a comment

Announcement

ANNOUNCEMENT:  I have been asked several times throughout the past few days about what I am considering.  I am strongly considering a bid for County Mayor.

Posted in Local News, Local Politics, News, Politics | Leave a comment

Anyone Interested in Volunteering on a Political Campaign in Greene County?

Anyone who might be interested in volunteering on a political campaign in Greene County should contact me.

You can comment here, email me at joshaarrowood@hotmail.com, message me on facebook, or text/call my cell phone.

I have decided that I will be seeking political office very soon and am in need of volunteers.  I have decided on the office I will be seeking (99%), but I am not ready to announce as of yet.

Posted in Local News, Local Politics, News, Politics | Leave a comment

Arrowood Dispatch 2013 MLB Season Predictions

American League
AL East
1) Toronto Blue Jays  2) Tampa Bay Rays  3) Baltimore Orioles  4) Boston Red Sox  5) New York Yankees

AL Central
1) Detroit Tigers  2) Cleveland Indians  3) Kansas City Royals  4) Chicago White Sox  5) Minnesota Twins

AL West
1) Los Angeles Angels  2) Texas Rangers  3) Oakland Athletics  4) Seattle Mariners  5) Houston Astros

AL Wild Card Teams
Tampa Bay Rays and Texas Rangers

AL Champs
Detroit Tigers

AL MVP
Mike Trout – Los Angeles Angels

AL Cy Young
Justin Verlander – Detroit Tigers

AL Rookie
Aaron Hicks – Minnesota Twins

 

National League
NL East
1) Atlanta Braves  2) Washington Nationals  3) Philadelphia Phillies  4) New York Mets  5) Miami Marlins

NL Central 1) Cincinnati Reds  2) St. Louis Cardinals  3) Milwaukee Brewers  4) Pittsburgh Pirates  5) Chicago Cubs

NL West 1) Los Angeles Dodgers  2) San Francisco Giants  3) Arizona Diamondbacks  4) San Diego Padres  5) Colorado Rockies

NL Wild Card Teams Washington Nationals and St. Louis Cardinals

NL Champs Atlanta Braves

NL MVP Buster Posey – San Francisco Giants

NL Cy Young Stephen Strasburg – Washington Nationals

NL Rookie Julio Teheran – Atlanta Braves

 

World Series Atlanta Braves over Detroit Tigers in 6.

Posted in Sports | Leave a comment

What Should be the GOP Response for Immigration?

The United States is the greatest nation on the planet.  In 2010, over 1 million people obtained permanent resident status in the United States.  Some estimates also say that 1.5 million come into the US illegally each year.  If America were not a great nation, people would not be flocking to the United States in such numbers.

Most of immigration seems to be from Latin America.  The American Hispanic population is quickly growing and is estimated to be the majority by the year 2050.  In the 2010 elections, the percentages of Hispanics voting Democratic compared to Republican was down from a 70% to 30% split to a 60% to 40% split.  As the percentage of Hispanics in the US increases, the GOP must find a way to win over a larger segment of that group to remain relevant.

While I hate political pandering, we need to use common sense in dealing with the immigration problem.  These are some facts:  1) Movement is a natural right  2) Government has a right to decide who enters a country  3) All humans want to be respected  4) Every person living in the United States has immigrant status.

As a human, the government has no right to force you to remain within certain boundaries unless you are a criminal.  You have the right to move within your nation’s political boundaries as you wish, while respecting private property rights.  You have a right to leave a nation who does not respect your rights (or for whatever reason you want to leave your government).  Our whole government was founded on the idea that we have the right to abolish our government or separate ourselves from our government.

A government has to have control over who is able to enter a country.  Not just anyone should be allowed to enter a country.  If someone has committed a heinous crime or several petty crimes, allowing them in would be opening yourself to a criminal problem.

A problem the GOP has had in the immigration debate is a difficulty in delivering a message.  You have your segments that are against immigration on the left and the right, but it seems that is the broad brush much of the GOP is painted with.  We, as a party, need to treat all humans — citizens, legal immigrants, and illegal immigrants — with respect.  It is a hope that all three groups are simply seeking a better life for themselves and their family.  We cannot afford to minimize their humanity.

Every single person in the United States would be able to find a point in history when our families emigrated from another place and immigrated to the United States.  Looking back historically, the human race began in Mesopotamia region.  From there people moved outward throughout the world.  People over time found their way to the region we now call the United States whether it be by boat, airplane, swimming, walking, or by land-bridge.  We are all immigrants in our own right.

Understanding this, we must also understand that a country without borders opens itself to destruction.  We must be able to control our borders for safety reasons.  This does not just include our southern border, but it includes our northern border and the two oceans.  People enter from all sides daily, and we need to have an idea as to whom is entering our nation.  There are people who wish to do us harm, and we need to be able to protect ourselves from them.

With all this in mind, the GOP needs to redefine our message.  We should be welcome to creating an immigration policy that opens our arms to all people who want to come to the United States to work to achieve the American Dream as long as they do not have a criminal record that would disqualify them.  That process should be as quick as possible, not slowed down with red-tape but is diligent in discovering who is entering.  To do that, we need a better border security that be able to keep up with the high demand of people wanting to enter in a timely manner, while being able to stop all those who attempt to go around that system as there would be no excuse for attempting to circumvent it.  If your record is clean, you are free to enter in a very timely manner.  If you are not cleared for criminal reasons, you shouldn’t be allowed in at all.

(This does not mean amnesty.  We should be open to legal immigration at all times and it should not have tons of red tape.  This should stop a lot of the illegal immigration while allowing more to seek the American Dream.)

Posted in Immigration, National Politics, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

The Problems with the American Education System (Part 1 of 10)

Working in education has its benefits and problems.  If the benefits do not outweigh the problems, one probably should not involve themselves in the field of education.  For many of us, the benefits far outweigh those negatives.  We teach students for the successes that education might bring.

In this series, we will look at the problems of education as it pertains to federal, state, and local governments; administration, teachers, parents, and students; unions; and the problems of the argument itself.

(DISCLAIMER – The opinions stated in this article and all articles found on The Arrowood Dispatch are my own.  They do not relate to my own experience or employment unless I specifically state that it does)

 

Posted in Education | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Not Yours to Give — David Crockett

One of my favorite stories was one that was sent to me by the Constitution Party several years ago.  The story has to do with Congressman David Crockett voting for a welfare bill that would give money from the US government to a person in need.  A chance meeting with a voter really gets Crockett’s attention.

Posted in Constitutional Issues, National Politics, Politics, Welfare | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Martin Luther King, Jr. Day

Sometimes we let the person rather than the message become the important focus.  Humans are falliable.  We have a rather innate ability to really louse things up.  Too often we think of Americans who had a vision, but we diminish the ideas those Americans had due to flaws in their character.

Martin Luther King, Jr. is one such person.  He had a vision for America that we should heed to in government and in person.  Forget and flaws in the man.  Forget any flaws in how his ideas have been instituted.  Focus on the message that is best summed up in his “I Have a Dream” speech.

America had been violent in actions against certain groups from our beginning.  For a nation rooted in that idea that “all men are created equal,” we failed.  We failed as slavery was a protected institution.  We failed as we allowed the government to hold minorities as second-tier citizens.  Our government failed by holding people down.  Government should be blind in dealing with all humans.  Unfortunately, ours has not.

In that same way, our government should not hold others above another group.  Government should view all individuals as equal.  No one group should receive special rights, nor should any one group receive less rights.  We cannot make right what was done to any group in the past, nor should we try.  We can only make sure that our government is made colorblind.

When it comes to individuals, we cannot force someone to not hold to racial feelings.  You can’t legislate people to hold to a certain view.  People are free to hold to controversial ideas within their First Amendment rights.  Only time and experience can change hearts and minds.

Posted in Holiday, National Politics, Politics | Tagged , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Updated Website and Upcoming Announcement

I have made an update to my website layout.  Check it out at www.joshuaarrowood.com.  I am also likely to make an announcement there in the upcoming weeks.

Posted in Blog News, Local Politics, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

What is the Purpose of the 2nd Amendment?

Following the Sandy Hook shooting, the idea of the right to bear arms headlines news stories in print, on the web, and on the television.  Arguments abound over what is common sense gun control.  The argument is based on the idea that there has to be some gun control measures.  Now the question is just how much gun control there should be.

In order to understand the amount of gun control we should have, we need to first ask ourselves, “What is the purpose of the 2nd Amendment?”

“A well regulated militia, being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”

The main reason for the 2nd Amendment is located within the amendment itself.  The reason is “the security of a free state.”  The Framers did not believe that a free state could exist without “the people” having the ability “to keep and bear arms…”

The 2nd Amendment does not say “Well armed hunters, being necessary to a hungry people, the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  It also does not say, “A well armed person, bringing security to their home, the right to keep and bear arms, shall not be infringed.”  It has to do simply with the idea of people being free.

The colonists and Founders did not worry about foreign invaders coming in to take away their rights.  The British were not foreign invaders to the colonists.  The colonists were very much British themselves.  They accused their own king of being a tyrant (see Declaration of Independence).  It was at that moment that the Declaration of Independence was signed, sealed, and delivered that the colonists knew they would have to use those arms to deliver themselves from tyranny.

This does not mean that people should just take up arms against their government.  Obviously it is our fault as Americans that our political bodies are in the state that they are in because we don’t demand and vote that they be any different.

Many liberals get hung up on the beginning of the 2nd Amendment.  Liberals may say that the 2nd Amendment only applies to militias.  Who are the militias?  Let’s check with the co-author of the 2nd Amendment, George Mason.

“I ask, Sir, what is the militia? It is the whole people. To disarm the people is the best and most effectual way to enslave them.” – George Mason

Another Founder who responsible for bringing a resolution calling for the Declaration of Independence also had a distinct idea of what the militia was.

“A militia, when properly formed, are in fact the people themselves …” – Richard Henry Lee

The truth is, the Founders wanted all Americans to be armed.  We the people are the militia.  We the people have a right to bear arms.  The government has no right to infringe on this right.

“What country can preserve its liberties if their rulers are not warned from time to time that their people preserve the spirit of resistance? Let them take arms.” – Thomas Jefferson

Posted in 2nd Amendment, Constitutional Issues, National News, National Politics, News, Politics | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

An End Brings Forth a New Beginning

Some recent events have given me some perspective.  I have been at the highest high.  I have been at the lowest low.  All of this has taken place in just a matter of weeks.

Sometimes we get farther from God than we would like due to circumstances.  Sometimes circumstances bring us closer.  Sometimes, it seems, a circumstance can do both.

I tend not to get personal on my blog.  I don’t wear my feelings on my sleeve.  I have been told that my expressions do not change.  I have even had students tell me over the past several days that I am the same person I have been all school year.

When I think of the happiest days of my life, five particular days come to mind.  I can’t tell you the exact dates of all five days, but I remember each fairly well.

The first of those five days had to have happened in the Fall of 2006.  My wife and I had been married just over a year.  She gave me the most exciting news that I could have ever imagined.  We were going to be parents.  The result was the second of those five days.  On June 3, 2007, which just happened to be our second wedding anniversary, my son Will was born.

What seemed to be just a few weeks later, and in reality wasn’t much more than a few weeks later, my wife gave me the news again.  We would be expecting our second child.  Again, this led to the fourth of those five most exciting days in my life.  On May 2, 2008, my daughter Reagan entered this world.

Years have passed since those days.  I have had the opportunity to watch those little babies grow into a handsome, smart, athletic boy with all the potential in the world and a little, beautiful, bright girl who I am sure will live out her dreams.  And finally, that fifth most exciting day in my life came.  My wife once again gave me the news again.  I was to be a dad for the third time.

January 10, 2013, we were excited to go to the ultrasound to see our new baby.  I had memories of the first ultrasound I went to when my wife was carrying Will.  I remember looking at his head.  I could see certain features.  I was looking at my own reflection.  It looked as if my wife was carrying me.  Memories were going through my head of the ultrasound in which I was first introduced to Reagan.  I can remember looking thinking this one doesn’t look like me.  She looks like her mom.

All those memories were in my mind as well as potential names for my new child.  The image came up.  Immediately I began looking, trying to decide is this child going to look like me, or will the kid look liker her?  As I looked intent on figuring out the answer to my question, the doctor broke the silence.  He said, “I can’t find a heartbeat.”  He asked another person in the room to go get another doctor to come help.  She came in, but the answer was the same.  No heartbeat.

I can’t describe what I felt at the time.  I had millions of questions but no answers.  There were no answers for the questions I had.

Instead of my wife’s news turning into yet another greatest day of my life, a Thursday in January turned out to be the worst.

I definitely don’t feel like the same person I was before I walked into that doctor’s office.  I can’t complain much since I have the two best kids in the world who enjoy nothing more than snuggling right up to me during the middle of the night, but knowing I lost a child I never got the chance to say hello or goodbye to hurts nevertheless.

I want to thank everyone who has texted, called, shared experiences, kept us in your thoughts and prayers, or shared kind words with me.  While I must say this is the most difficult thing I have ever experienced, in some way it has made it easier.

Thank you.

Posted in Life | Leave a comment