Posts Tagged ‘pork’

Subsidies to popular museums scrutinized

Fox 17 has a story about how some museums and tourist attractions receive taxpayer handouts, even though others that do not have much more visitors. Watch the entire interview here.

March 14th, 2014 | Recent News

Cronyism: A Tennessee Love Story

Beacon CEO Justin Owen pens a guest article at the new blog, Tennessee Brush Fires, about the pitfalls of corporate welfare. Here’s an excerpt.

Since 2005, Tennessee governments have handed over $1.75 billion in the form of tax credits and cash grants to large companies. And the vast majority of it has gone to just seven large corporations. Talk about a lopsided playing field.

The worst part of this corporate welfare scheme—taking from some and giving to others—is what could be done instead. Take for example the case of Hemlock Semiconductor, which received massive subsidies to locate a plant in Clarksville as part of the solar panel supply chain. Just a few months ago, the company announced that it was laying off its Tennessee workforce and ending construction on the unopened plant. Despite the company’s utter failure to live up to its promises, taxpayers will lose $90 million on the deal.

The $90 million lost on Hemlock could have gone to cut the business tax for all Tennessee businesses by almost one-half percent. That’s a tax cut for 170,000 different businesses, from the largest corporation to the mom and pop shop down the road.

Head over to Tennessee Brush Fires for the full piece.

August 2nd, 2013 | Commentary

TN Pork Report Unearths Half-a-Billion Dollars in Government Waste

TN Pork Report Unearths Half-a-Billion Dollars in Government Waste

NASHVILLE – The Beacon Center of Tennessee today released its eighth annual Tennessee Pork Report, exposing more than $511 million squandered by state and local governments over the past year. The annual report published by the Beacon Center, the state’s leading free market think tank and taxpayer watchdog, is the only one of its kind in Tennessee.

Examples of wasteful spending outlined in the 2013 Pork Report include:

  • A corporate welfare deal gone sour, costing taxpayers $95 million after Hemlock Semiconductor closed its plant and laid off hundreds of workers;
  • $73 million in improper unemployment benefits, including cash paid to existing state workers and the deceased, of which only $15.3 million has been recouped;
  • Wasteful film incentives to Hollywood elites totaling $13.5 million;
  • $800,000 to update a study to determine what to do with the vacant State Prison;
  • A campaign to urge Tennesseans to eat more beef at a cost of $235,000; and
  • An outrageous spending spree by a Rockwood city official, who spent $32,000 on an arsenal of guns, ammunition, cameras, clothes, and testosterone booster.

“Taxpayers will be angered to find out how their state and local officials are spending their hard-earned money,” said Beacon CEO Justin Owen. “Whether it’s Solyndra-like corporate welfare disasters, lavish parties by government agencies, or rampant theft by public officials, this year’s report has it all when it comes to government waste, fraud, and abuse.”

The waste of taxpayer money found in the 2013 Pork Report comes from state and local government budgets, media reports, state audits, and independent research conducted by Beacon Center staff and scholars. An electronic version of the report can be found at:

“Yet again, the Tennessee Pork Report arrives with disheartening news,” said Ben Cunningham, spokesman for Tennessee Tax Revolt, who participated in the report’s release. “Our public officials are poor stewards of our tax dollars, and the only way to stop it is to arm all Tennesseans with this information so that they can hold those public officials accountable.”

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan organization dedicated to providing concerned citizens and public leaders with expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. The Center’s mission is to change lives through public policy by advancing the principles of free markets, individual liberty, and limited government.


June 26th, 2013 | Feature, Policy

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