Image Credit: Beacon Center of Tennessee
The Tennessee Conservative [By Paula Gomes] –
“From city and county government to public universities and utilities, Tennessee tax dollars pay for these entities to hire private lobbyists to influence the legislature,” states the report in its introduction entitled “Betraying Taxpayers.”
Even worse, those who work for the government and who lobby in Nashville when the legislature meets yearly do not have to disclose information about those lobbying efforts unlike for-profit lobbying firms and non-profit organizations. When asked by the Beacon Center about lobbying, some government entities responded saying “they didn’t know exactly how much went to lobbying.”
“Tennesseans elect representatives and senators to be their voice in the legislature. They should not have even more of their tax dollars go to line the pockets of special interests or against their own interests,” says the Beacon Center.
The report offers the following solution:
Forbid taxpayer-funded lobbying, as elected officials are already at the capitol to be the voice for their community. At the very least, local government entities should be required to disclose all information on lobbying contracts and government employees who lobby.
As in previous years, the report highlights no-bid contracts. This year’s featured contract is the state’s contract for contact tracing that cost taxpayers $65 million. No data was ever published by the company to show what they were doing with that money.
The Beacon Center is calling for the state to enter into these contracts in “rare circumstances” only. In the interests of transparency, the Pork Report suggests all no-bid contracts made during the pandemic be audited.
The “Pork of the Year” should come as no surprise to conservatives – taxpayer funding for the proposed Tennessee Titans stadium.
“Despite what government officials say, studies have shown sports stadiums do not create new tax revenue, but only shift a tax base from one area to another,” says the report.
Other areas where taxpayer money has been used wastefully include:
• ESSER funds for school districts
• Unused homeless pods
• Vehicle registration increases
• Nashville’s grant to Planned Parenthood
• Knoxville’s lawsuit against streaming services
• Improvements to athletic facilities called “economic development”
Read the full report HERE.
About the Author: Paula Gomes is a Tennessee resident and reporter for The Tennessee Conservative. You can reach Paula at email@example.com.