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

June 26, 2013 1:15PM

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.