J.T. Woods, the Roane County property assessor candidate who killed himself in the yard of his former boss, shouldn’t have received $16,913 in jobless benefits, an unemployment appeals hearing officer has ruled.
From the News Sentinel report: A hearing on Assessor Teresa Kirkham’s appeal of Woods’ jobless benefits occurred May 30. On May 31, Woods shot himself in the head with a .357-caliber handgun outside Assessor Teresa Kirkham’s Kingston condo.
A ruling dated June 6 by state hearing officer Barbara Ligon stated Woods had improperly drawn benefits. It was made public this week.
The ruling states Woods gave “an incorrect reason for his separation” from his job as a field appraiser, and the jobless benefits he received must be repaid.
Woods was fired from his job in 2010 after saying he was sick when he was actually golfing in Florida with the doctor who signed his medical excuse, according to the ruling.
After he was fired, Woods filed a jobless claim saying he had been “separated due to a lack of work.”
During his weekly meeting with reporters Thursday, Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey read from a blog post by Jeff Woods on the amendment to the so-called “mountaintop removal” bill and proceeded to criticize Woods in particular and the media in general for coverage of the issue.
Woods thereupon posted a rebuttal that includes a chunk of Ramsey’s commentary: “I had one environmental group that said, ‘Well, we can start getting our coal from China.’ They actually said that to me. The ultimate goal for them is to keep coal mining out of the state,” Ramsey said. “The bill that we passed yesterday outlaws mountaintop removal mining in the state of Tennessee, period. I think there’s just a general philosophy of the press on this issue. Democrats good, Republicans bad. From day one, I’ve said I’m against this. There’s no trick.”
Extolling his environmental credentials, Ramsey went on to discuss his love of hunting and fishing and “diesel therapy,” which he said he receives by prowling the bucolic countryside on weekends astride his fume-belching tractor. It turns out he loves the smell of diesel in the morning.
You can tell I get a little fired up on this. I get a little upset that we do honestly, honestly from the bottom of my heart try to do what we think is the right thing to stop this and there’s not one ounce of coverage basically because I’m a Republican and I can’t do good on this issue. I’m one of the most outdoorsy kind of people you’d ever want to meet. Every weekend, I am outdoors all weekend. I’m a big hunter. I love fishing. Well, I don’t fish that much but I like it. I hunt a lot. I can’t wait until tomorrow to be on my tractor riding around. I call it diesel therapy. I want to protect the environment. There’s no better protector of the environment than farmers. They realize if it’s gone, they’re gone. You have to be a member of the Sierra Club to be pro-environment. That is absolutely, positively ridiculous.
Note: Related prior posts HERE (Ramsey statement) and HERE (environmentalists’ take on the amendment)..
Gov. Bill Haslam has been traveling the state with the dual role of “part cheerleader and part reassuring family member,” reports Jeff Woods in an update on the administration’s efforts to enhance economic development. The article gets into both statistics and the politics involved. Since Haslam took office in January, about 9,500 new jobs have been created in Tennessee, either through the expansion of existing businesses or via new companies locating in the state, according to figures the state Department of Economic and Community Development provided to The City Paper.
But the unemployment rate remains at a stubborn 9.8 percent statewide… To the state Department of Labor and Workforce Development, companies have reported laying off 6,886 workers in the past six months, with the biggest loss coming with the shutdown of Union City’s Goodyear Tire and Rubber plant, where 1,900 were furloughed. And those are just some of the layoffs. (Note: Reports, I think are required only when 50 or more layoffs are involved.)
All states face these new fiscal constraints, and many are in worse shape than Tennessee. Without the money to attract new businesses in traditional ways like public spending on infrastructure improvements, state governments have dreamed up a slew of ideas to help.
Among the new programs from a summary by the National Conference of State Legislatures:
• Alabama established a mortgage guarantee fund with $6 million from state oil and gas royalties. Trying to boost the state’s housing market, the fund will reimburse investors suffering foreclosure losses on loans.
• Florida is loaning money — up to $250,000 at 2 percent interest — to small businesses to expand through capital purchases, worker training and new hires.
• Colorado is providing tax credits for job creation and encouraging private lending to small businesses. Public funding in the loan program is expected to leverage more than $50 million in private financing.
• Hawaii transferred money from environmental cleanup to economic development.
Haslam refused to even consider any such stimulus programs this year, insisting that the state can’t create jobs through legislation. That prompted Democrats to accuse Haslam of failing to do enough to help the economy.
Haslam dismisses the criticism as politically motivated, noting, “My response is really that I don’t think we can create jobs by legislative work or we would do that.”
But House Minority Leader Craig Fitzhugh of Ripley said it’s the Republicans who are playing politics, tossing Democratic ideas into the trash heap rather than giving their opponents credit for thinking outside the box. Democrats introduced a dozen bills, all of which died in committee.