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.
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.)