Tennessee, like every other state, dishes out its fair share of corporate handouts. This comes in the form of tax credits and literal cash payouts to a select few businesses at the expense of all others. Corporate welfare is ineffective and overwhelmingly tends to go to larger corporations over small businesses. Meanwhile, Tennessee also has the highest corporate tax per capita in the entire South. This economic development strategy leaves the government to pick winners and losers and puts small businesses and entrepreneurs at a disadvantage. If Tennessee is to become a magnet for all jobs and innovators, state leaders must refocus on providing broad-based tax reform that benefits all rather than handouts to a few well-connected or politically savvy companies.

To put it in perspective, the Volunteer State has spent over $3 billion in the last decade of your money in corporate handouts. And just three percent of all 170,000 businesses in the state were lucky enough to receive a handout.

Here are just a few examples of where your money has gone:

  • $812 million to Volkswagen
  • $623 million for a new convention center in downtown Nashville
  • $182 million to Nashville’s Omni Hotel
  • $70 million for a new stadium for the Nashville Sounds Minor League Baseball team
  • $66 million to HCA
  • $56 million to Bridgestone

It’s time that the government stops picking winners and losers. Businesses should thrive on what they provide consumers, not who they know in government. We call upon state leaders to take measures that will ensure accountability and level the playing field for everyone, not just the chosen few.

To see every corporate handout in the last decade in Tennessee, visit

Do you have a corporate favoritism story to tell? Share it by clicking here.