New Poll Reveals Tennesseans Against Corporate Handouts


June 1, 2016 12:15PM

Yesterday, the Beacon Center released a new poll conducted by icitizen on the feelings of Tennesseans towards corporate handouts. To say I was pleased with the results would be a severe understatement. The poll showed that Tennesseans of all socio-economic backgrounds, income levels, genders, and races agree that giving certain businesses taxpayer money is unfair.

In Tennessee and across the nation corporate handouts (more favorably called tax incentives) are thriving as cities and states are competing to see who can give more taxpayer money away to corporations in order for them to relocate or stay put. Ultimately, this practice has become commonplace and widely accepted by the elite of both major political parties. It is time to put a stop to that.

Nearly 70% of Tennesseans do not believe it’s the state government’s job to give handouts to certain businesses. Only 11% of Tennesseans believe that the Tennessee government is being transparent with the incentives it gives corporations. These are absolutely astounding numbers.

The reason corporate handouts are so widely accepted as a positive role of government is because our side is losing the messaging war. The other side talks about incentives, and how this practice is pro-business and creating jobs, the fact is that it is none of those things. Corporate handouts are simply giving taxpayer money to corporations at the expense of small businesses. Giving one company money through taxpayers and competitors is unfair and immoral. Businesses should succeed or fail based on the services they provide, not who they know in government. We should lower taxes for all businesses instead of lowering taxes for a select few.

Over the next few years, the Beacon Center will work to put an end to corporate handouts in the state of Tennessee with a major education initiative. Our poll indicates that we can win this battle, we just need to educate the public on what government officials really mean when they say business incentives or tax breaks. They mean taking money out of your pocket and giving it to a multi-millionaire CEO.

You can read the crosstabs and the full poll results here.