Tennessee to Use Taxpayer Funds to Pay Out-of-State Tourists to Visit


In an attempt to continue the economic recovery from the coronavirus pandemic, the state of Tennessee will utilize an unprecedented marketing effort — paying out-of-state tourists to travel to the state.

The program, initiated by Governor Bill Lee and dubbed “Tennessee on Me,” will grant $250 airline vouchers to any individual who travels to Tennessee’s largest cities and stays at least two nights.

The offer will allow anyone to book a trip between July 11 and December 30 of this year and is available to up to 10,000 people.

“Tennessee is known around the world for its music, scenic beauty & iconic attractions, and I’m excited to team up with @BradPaisley to promote @TNVacation. 10k airline vouchers are up for grabs when travelers book a trip to Tennessee,” Lee said in a tweet attached to a video by country music artist Brad Paisley who highlighted the offer.

However, some state leaders have questioned the governor’s efforts. Particularly, critics point to the fact that the funding of the initiative will send funds paid by Tennessee taxpayers to individuals who reside in other states.

The taxpayer funds stem from a section of the state’s marketing budget, which allocated $2.5 million for the cause. But, state lawmakers seemingly did not know about the specifics of the promotion until Lee announced it on social media.

Lieutenant Governor Randy McNally raised questions about the need for such a promotion and the scope of the project.

“It is especially troubling that the promotion is limited to our major cities. At least two of those cities exacerbated the economic crisis by instituting overly aggressive lockdown policies. It makes little sense to limit the promotion to those cities when our rural areas were hit as hard, if not harder, by the economic crisis than those cities,” McNally said.

Further, House Speaker Cameron Sexton was hesitant to embrace the offer.

“It was approved in our budget. We’ll see how it works,” he detailed.

— — —

Cooper Moran is a reporter for the Star News Network. Follow Cooper on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected]









Related posts

9 Thoughts to “Tennessee to Use Taxpayer Funds to Pay Out-of-State Tourists to Visit”

  1. Lee is officially a one-termer. But watch the spineless TN GOP dance around his shortcomings, attempting to thwart any primary challenge.

    As for Mr. Paisley – last week tooling around with Jill Biden, attempting to get folks to get vaccinated, who are completely against it. His self-interest of selling more concert tickets if successful. Now promoting this idiocy? Brad – you are now dead to me.

  2. JRin

    So, instead of refunding MY tax payments to ME, Gov Lee has decided to refund my taxpayer money to citizens of OTHER STATES!?!? What gives him the right to do this? We desperately need a Conservative Republican to Primary him out.

    1. Nancy

      I’ll bet Dr. Manny Sethi would have never made such an idiotic move.

  3. Karen Bracken

    Why would we offer tax payer money for people to visit Tennessee? If people want to come to TN they will come on their own free will. If tourism is hurt in TN it is because of the ridiculous mask and testing requirements of the airlines. You couldn’t pay me enough to fly anywhere if I have to wear a mask and/or be tested. And I know many people that feel the same way. TN is one of the most financially stable states after the scamdemic and buying people to come here is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of. What is this man thinking? It is so easy for these politicians to just hand out OUR money like it was their own. Believe me if this had to come out of his pocket it would never happen.

    1. Ron

      Exactly. Maybe Governor Lee should have thought about this before *complying* with the (planned) illegal lockdown. Now TN gets to pay twice. The 2.5 million could have gone to far better use around the state…

  4. Mark Knofler

    I guess they should waste it on more bogus “Community Outreach” redistribution, sorry programs? Nothing too see here, move along. #FauxOutrage

  5. Ms Independent

    This is outrageous! lee and Obama loving paisley team up together using tax payer money while lee ends federal unemployment benefits to suffering Tennesseans! His legacy will ensure Tennessee turns from red to blue.


    I hope this happens here


  6. LM

    What a waste of taxpayers’ money. Look at all of the move-ins from the north and California. Look at all of the illegals being flown into Chattanooga. Nobody needs free airline tickets to be convinced to come to Tennessee. As for the rural areas , one of which is where my family lives and where I was raised , they may or may not have been hit as hard as the Leftist cities , because for the most part , the scamdemic idiotic lockdowns and ridiculous mask rules were ignored.

  7. Horatio Bunce

    Oh. I thought this was another story on the “out of state” illegal aliens flying into our major cities with American Airlines, trafficked by the Department of Defense with taxpayer dollars.

    How come only the cities that get favoritism with education vouchers also get favoritism with travel vouchers? Is it quid pro quo for trafficking illegal aliens?