Nashville Metro Event Marketing Fund
According to the Tennessean, the Nashville Metro event marketing fund gave out $3.9 million tax dollars for events in Nashville next year. My first question is pretty simple, what the heck is the Metro event marketing fund? Apparently, it was originally started to lure events that bring tourists to music city and is funded through a $0.50 per room per night tax on hotel rooms.
Let me stop right there… mission accomplished, let’s end the fund.
For fun, let’s take a look at what the $3.9 million dollars funded next year.
First, the most ridiculous award goes to the Fourth Annual Highland Games and Celtic Festival. Metro has designated $5,000 for this event. For those of you who are not familiar with the local Middle Tennessee Highland games, this one-day event features Middle Tennessee staples such as throwing stuff, clogging, and Celtic dancing.
The next event to highlight is the CMA Music Festival, which received $1 million in tax dollars. I know this is a great event that brings a ton of tourists (and traffic) to Nashville. However, should Metro be using tax dollars to lure events here that bring more tourists to an already established annual event that wouldn’t make sense to host anywhere but Nashville? The festival organizers make plenty of profit to host their own event without a government subsidy.
The Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl also received $1 million in funding. Again, this 3rd tier bowl game normally held between mediocre 7-5 teams has been in Nashville since 1998. It has gone through a slew of different sponsors and the attendance record was set in 2010 at 69,143, when this comes as no surprise, Tennessee played in the game. In 2017, attendance was a dismal 48,675. Why we are continuing to throw a million tax dollars to an event that is already established here is beyond me.
Other events funded this year include: the NFL Draft at $700,000 (which already agreed to come here without tax dollars), Live on the Green at $60,000, the July Fourth Fireworks and Concert at $450,000, the New Year’s Eve events at $450,000, AmericanaFest at $60,000, and Music City Roots at $50,000.
Now, I know what you’re thinking, tourists pay for it, so why not continue the fund? Because at the end of the day the taxpayers are the real losers in this merry-go-round. It goes something like this: tourists pay the $0.50 per room night fee, that fee goes to the event marketing fund to lure events, then Nashville Metro subsidizes part of the cost of the hotel rooms by asking the hotels to charge a discounted rate for large group blocks if the Convention and Visitor’s Bureau makes up the rest, and we subsidize the hotels with hundreds of millions of tax dollars. It is a perpetual ongoing never-ending loop. Please let us off the ride.