The Beacon Center of Tennessee published its annual Pork Report this week, highlighting the wasteful spending of taxpayer dollars this past year across Tennessee.
On its website, the Beacon Center of Tennessee describes itself as “a nonprofit, nonpartisan, and independent organization” that is “dedicated to providing concerned citizens and public leaders with expert empirical research and timely free-market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee.”
Examples of waste, fraud, and abuse of Tennessee taxpayer money highlighted in the 2022 Pork Report include the statewide hiring of “private lobbyists to influence the state legislature” and millions of dollars meant for “economic development opportunities” that ended up paying for pickleball courts and softball fields in Bristol and Johnson City. Another example included in the report was the States of Tennessee’s “no-bid contract for contact tracing given to a company with no previous experience.”
The report also identifies the biggest waste of taxpayer money from the year, called the “Pork of the Year.” This year’s winner was “the “stadium madness” that took place when state and local governments gave millions upon millions of hard-earned tax dollars to build or upgrade professional sports stadiums,” according to the Beacon Center.
“This report is supposed to be tongue in cheek, but it’s also meant to educate taxpayers on how their money is being wasted by state and local governments,” Beacon Vice President of Strategy and Communications Mark Cunningham said in a statement.
“Despite many people saying Republicans and Democrats can’t agree on anything, this report shows that wasting tax dollars seems to be the one thing that brings both parties together,” Cunningham added.
Many sources are used to compile the annual report, including state and local budgets, media reports, state audits, and independent research conducted by the Beacon Center.
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Kaitlin Housler is a reporter at The Tennessee Star and The Star News Network.
Photo “Tennessee State Capitol” by Author Unknown. CC BY-SA 3.0.