Rep. Watson: Moving Tennessee Forward

Tuesday, October 22, 2013 - by Rep. Eric Watson
Rep. Eric Watson
Rep. Eric Watson

Over the last several weeks, myself and others have joined with the Tennessee Department of Economic and Community to announce numerous major business expansions from all across the state. With these expansion projects, thousands of jobs have been created, as well as, millions of dollars invested into local Tennessee communities.  Companies like Gap, Surface Igniter, Dot Foods, and Miller Industries will move their headquarters here or expand their current space.  

When companies expand their existing space in Tennessee that says a lot about the current economy.  When companies are moving their headquarters here that says a lot about the state of Tennessee.

In 2010, I was proud to have been a part of the TN General Assembly that established the Office of Small Business Advocate.  My family owns a small business within the Bradley County area.  Small businesses are vital to Tennessee.  The OSBA is the primary contact for Tennessee small business owners who need assistance with specific business issues or have general questions about state agencies, regulatory compliance, or other business-related topics.  In addition, if a small business owner feels that his or her business has been subject to unfair enforcement actions by a state agency, the business owner can seek assistance and relief from the OSBA.  With 97 percent of the companies in Tennessee being classified as “small businesses,” the Office of Small Business Advocate provides an invaluable resource to business owners across the state, providing help and information to the entrepreneurs who are the backbone of creativity and job production in Tennessee.  To contact Tennessee’s Small Business Advocate, Lauren Plunk, call 615.401-7806 or email her at smallbusiness.advocate@cot.tn.gov<mailto:smallbusiness.advocate@cot.tn.gov>.

I am thrilled to announce that Benton Elementary School has been recognized as a Reward School by the Tennessee Department of Education.  The designation means the schools are in either the top five percent of all schools in the state for annual academic growth or the top five percent for overall academic achievement.  The Reward School program spans 52 districts across the state and includes 169 total schools.  Republican leaders praised the news, thanking teachers, administrators, and students for all their hard work in achieving the important educational goals.  The 2012-13 Reward Schools made their impressive accomplishments during a year when Tennessee saw consistent gains on the statewide Tennessee Comprehensive Assessment Program testing. As schools across the state made improvements and reached higher levels of proficiency, the Reward Schools led the way in overall school performance.  A complete list of Reward Schools can be found by visiting: tn.gov/education/accountability/reward_2013.shtml.


Congrats To Super Citizen Helen Burns Sharp

Congratulations to super-citizen Helen Burns Sharp on both her initial IDB lawsuit and on Chancellor Fleenor's ruling.  Also, I wish her well on her current action. It's a shame that a private citizen such as Ms. Sharp has to invest so much time and money to keep a government agency honest.  Three cheers and thumbs up.  I thank her.  R.J. Johnson (click for more)

Conservation Easement With The Land Trust Isn't The Answer

Like Councilmember Annette Allen's committee, I support preserving our Signal Mountain park lands and green spaces and applaud the committee's time and attention to their mission.  But a conservation easement with the Land Trust for Tennessee is not the answer.  There are many other alternatives, if necessary. The attorneys for the town and the Land Trust for Tennessee ... (click for more)

Erlanger Finishes Fiscal Year With $18 Million Profit

After a major loss the year before, Erlanger Health System finished the fiscal year with an $18 million profit, officials announced Monday night. It was well ahead of the $2 million gain that Erlanger had budgeted for, and far better than last year's $8 million loss. The profit was boosted by a first-time $19,587,000 from a Public Hospital Supplemental payment and essential ... (click for more)

Chancellor Rules That IDB Must Reimburse Attorney Fees, Other Legal Costs For Helen Burns Sharp On TIF Lawsuit

Chancellor Pam Fleenor has ruled that Helen Burns Sharp, who sued over the validity of a $9 million Tax Increment Financing (TIF) for a planned major development on Aetna Mountain, should be reimbursed her discretionary costs as well as her attorney fees. Ms. Sharp said in a recent court filing that her legal bills to attorney John Konvalinka were $74,427 at the time. The ... (click for more)

Tennessee Gets Down To Final Preparations For Georgia

KNOXVILLE, Tenn.   – Tennessee’s first Southeastern Conference road trip to Georgia on Saturday (noon kickoff on the SEC Network) will be a homecoming for 17 Vols. That fact is not lost on those players, from freshmen wanting to make a first impression to those, like   A.J. Johnson , playing against the Bulldogs and in their home state for the final time. ... (click for more)

Chattanooga Golf Team Second At Wolf Run Intercollegiate

The Chattanooga Mocs men’s golf team is tied for second after 18 holes at the Wolf Run Intercollegiate. The Mocs and Florida Gators each shot 295 over the opening 18 to trail Illinois by 11 at 285 at Wolf Run Golf Club. The day’s docket had a scheduled 36 holes. Afternoon storms sent teams from the course prior to finishing. The remaining holes will be completed starting at 9:30 ... (click for more)