Today, the Beacon Center released its most famous annual publication, the Pork Report. As always the report shed light on hundreds of millions of dollars of wasteful spending in Tennessee. Examples in this year’s report range from the state’s no-bid contract for contact tracing given to a company with no previous experience to the unused homeless pods the city of Nashville wasted $1.2 million of tax dollars on.
This year’s infamous Pork of the Year “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. While the highlight was the $500 million handed out to the Titans for a new stadium in a wildly unpopular deal, Nashville wasn’t alone in taking taxpayer money. Knoxville, Chattanooga, and Memphis also forced local taxpayers to pony up for new stadiums or expansions to existing ones, while also asking state taxpayers for more money.
Other 2022 Pork Report entries included:
• An enormous $80,000 mistake by the Mayor of Dresden when he paid a firm to do architectural design on a new City Hall and municipal complex. The only issue… the city didn’t own the land.
• A frivolous lawsuit the city of Knoxville filed suing Netflix and Hulu for franchise fees that was a lose/lose for taxpayers.
• Millions of dollars spent by both Bristol and Johnson City for “economic development opportunities,” which in reality are just pickleball courts and softball fields.
From pickleball courts in Bristol to unused homeless pods in Nashville, there continues to be plenty of material for the Pork Report. 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 both state and local governments. There is one piece of good news though in such a polarized political environment. 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.