Posts Tagged ‘taxpayers’

Gov’t Waste Exposed in West Tennessee

Action News 5 in Memphis analyzes Beacon’s 2014 Pork Report, and gets the reaction of local officials who were caught abusing taxpayer money. One official even admitted to failing to follow the law:

Haywood County taxpayers forked out $41,000 for a new fingerprint machine, another $39,000 for two used patrol cars, and nearly $40,000 for new tires for school buses at Haywood County Schools. None of those items went through the proper bidding requirements.

“We try to comply with the law, but there are occasions that we don’t,” Haywood County Mayor Franklin Smith said. “We didn’t fulfill the requirement, as far as advertising fingerprint machines or the vehicles, but we didn’t solicit bids locally.”

When asked if that was against the law, Smith said, “Well it’s a violation, yeah, and I get written up for it.”

Watch the entire story here.


October 8th, 2014 | Commentary

Tennessee Taxpayers Can Send a Clear Message to Washington

Tennessee Taxpayers Can Send a Clear Message to Washington

With all the news about corporate inversions, where large corporations move their headquarters “on paper” to a country with a lower corporate tax rate, it is easy to lose sight of who actually employs most Americans—small businesses on Main Street.

As our political leaders and national media call for the closing of this particular loophole, those of us at Beacon know this one loophole is not the biggest issue, and in fact businesses are considering these decisions because of the larger unfair corporate tax structure that encourages business to move overseas. This is just a symptom of a larger issue.

Perhaps this is best illustrated at the state level. As Tennesseans, we pride ourselves on responsible governance, on maintaining the lowest debt per capita in the nation, of being the third freest state in the union, and competing amongst the short-list of states without an income tax. In fact, we don’t believe that good is good enough. Many leaders in our state legislature are also calling for a repeal of our Hall Tax on investment income to ensure that Tennessee remains a competitive incubator for future economic growth. In so doing, we’ll become a magnet for businesses in other states to relocate to a more business-friendly environment.

It’s time for Washington to take note of Tennessee’s example. We need full-scale tax reform for all businesses and all Americans. We need an all-out assault on spending in Washington.

A fairer and flatter tax code that broadens the tax burdens for all Americans and American businesses, paired with reined in spending, is necessary if we want Tennesseans and small business owners to have the cash to invest in their future and live their American Dream.

Helping you pursue your version of the American Dream is at the very core of Beacon’s mission. Just this week, the Beacon Center and CEO Justin Owen participated in an event with U.S. Rep. Diane Black and the Main Street Growth and Opportunity Coalition of small business and community leaders to discuss these market-based state and national tax reforms. As a member of both the House Ways and Means Committee and Budget Committee, Rep. Black is uniquely positioned to impact the decisions on how our tax dollars are spent. She has been a leader in promoting pro-growth legislation and policy discussions since residents of the 6th District first sent her to Washington.

Of course, she cannot do this alone. Our state and nationally elected officials must hear from Tennesseans across the state. Let us join in the call for repealing our state’s Hall Tax and stand with Rep. Black to bring true corporate tax and spending reform to Washington.

-Lindsay Boyd

August 28th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

The Other White Meat: Government Waste

The Other White Meat: Government Waste

Earlier this week, Beacon offered up slabs of pork for Tennesseans all across the state. But it wasn’t the kind of pork that makes mouths water. It’s the kind that makes taxpayers hold their noses. The 2014 Pork Report exposed more government waste, fraud, and abuse in its nine-year history. Taxpayers were fleeced out of $609 million this past year.

Some of my favorite—or should I say least favorite—examples of waste include the $1.9 million lost by state-owned golf courses, with taxpayers subsidizing the golf habits of others. And there’s the $4 million shelled out on film incentives to Hollywood producers, despite study after study showing that these handouts do little to create permanent local jobs, and offer taxpayers a paltry return of just 10 to 30 cents on the dollar.

The worst offender of the year, and earning our “Pork of the Year” distinction, is the Department of Labor & Workforce Development. The agency got caught sending unemployment benefits to all sorts of ineligible recipients, including gainfully employed government workers, dead people, and even 84 felons who are currently sitting behind bars. It’s not too often you can say it pays to go to prison, but in Tennessee it sure does. Of the whopping $181 million accidentally paid out to those who didn’t qualify for unemployment benefits, the department has only been able to recoup $22 million.

Mooo-ving on, taxpayers are forking over six figures on advertising to urge them to eat more beef. Paid for by a 50-cent tax on every head of cattle sold in the state, the campaign will spend $380,000 this year.

A regular to the pages of our Pork Report is the state’s Pre-Kindergarten program, which costs upwards of $90 million a year. As our recent infographic on Pre-K  notes, any benefits of Pre-K disappear after second grade, making it little more than a glorified babysitting program funded by taxpayers.

These examples just scratch the surface of wasteful government spending found in the 2014 Pork Report. You can read the full report here. Just be sure to sit down first.

-Justin Owen

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June 27th, 2014 | Beacon Blog, Feature, Recent News

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