Posts Tagged ‘corporate welfare’

Is “Nashville” TV Show Worth the Cost?

Is “Nashville” TV Show Worth the Cost?

This week, the city of Nashville approved a grant of $1 million in taxpayer money, doubling its previous grant, to keep production of ABC’s hit TV series “Nashville” in Music City. Claims by ABC that production of the third season of the popular series may relocate to Georgia or Texas has sparked action by Tennessee officials.

This $1 million incentive grant by the Metro Council, coupled with a $5.5 million incentive grant  from the state of Tennessee according to the Nashville Scene, should cause us to question why our government is funding a TV series that makes millions of dollars each season and does little in return to help the average Tennessee taxpayer. Is it the responsibility of Tennessee state and local governments to incentivize private industries? And if we allow taxpayer dollars to be frivolously spent on “Nashville,” where do we draw the line in the future?

Proponents of the incentives claim that Nashville and Tennessee benefit tremendously from keeping production local—through increased job opportunities, major spending in the area, and “immeasurable” marketing benefits, as viewers around the country are exposed to the exciting music scene of Nashville on their TV screens each Wednesday night. However, these proponents fail to realize that economic development incentives, particularly in the film industry, are often irresponsible investments from which taxpayers rarely see the benefits. Critics have noted that in many states, film industry incentives have at most a 30 cent return on the dollar, an “investment” that no person would make with their own money. It is unjust and unreasonable to expect Tennessee taxpayers to fund the production of a highly profitable show, especially when many do not even tune in on Wednesday nights.

-Kate Cavenaugh

September 20th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

Not-So-Free Enterprise and VW Jobs

Not-So-Free Enterprise and VW Jobs

Beacon CEO Justin Owen had a Letter to the Editor published in the Wall Street Journal yesterday. The letter discussed the UAW, VW Chattanooga, and corporate welfare.

Regarding your editorial “The Chattanooga Jobs Payoff” (July 15): Yes, we are honored that the company chose our income-tax-free, low-regulation and business-friendly state for its new SUV. And it’s a welcome announcement for the 2,000 people who will now become Volkswagen employees. But it didn’t come without a cost, and taxpayers may pay an even bigger price if the United Auto Workers has its way.

While you note that Volkswagen “will invest $900 million” in the Chattanooga expansion, you fail to note that at least $230 million of that will come from state and local taxpayers in the form of handouts. Tax credits and job training grants could eventually balloon to as much as one-third of the entire investment, at a cost to taxpayers of at least $115,000 per job.

While it is also great that VW Chattanooga employees sent the UAW packing in February, the union only took a temporary detour. The UAW’s establishment of a dues-free, voluntary union just four days ahead of the expansion announcement was certainly Kabuki theatre. But it raises the question: Will VW workers, who soundly rejected the union in February, be able to withstand the union’s rejuvenated pressure to garner majority support? That may be tough now that the UAW has months to wear down and intimidate employees in their own workplace based on what it calls a “consensus agreement” with VW management.

We must hope that the company will refuse to capitulate to the UAW, or else the union’s dream of organizing the South may well come true, financed by none other than Tennessee taxpayers.

Justin Owen


Beacon Center of Tennessee

Nashville, Tenn.

July 22nd, 2014 | Commentary, Feature

Beacon Statement on Government Handout to VW

We are extremely disappointed in Governor Haslam’s decision to give VW nearly $180 million in taxpayer handouts today, especially considering the uncertainty surrounding the company’s relationship with the UAW. Beacon CEO Justin Owen stated “At a cost of $90,000 per job, this is a bad deal for the taxpayers of Tennessee. While Beacon is happy to see VW staying in Tennessee and creating jobs, it comes at a cost that is unfair to the average Tennessee taxpayer, especially considering the recent decision to ignore the will of its workers and let the union into the plant.” In less than four days, the Beacon Center has already received almost 300 signatures from Tennessee residents opposing this act of corporate welfare for a company that permits the union to discard the votes of its workers.

July 14th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Recent News

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