Beacon Center’s annual “pork” roundup for 2014 issued

Every year, the Beacon Center’ reviews comptroller audits and media reports on Tennessee state and local government foulups in the past year and spending that Beacon doesn’t like, declaring the result a “pork report.” The 2014 version is now available.

News release from Beacon Center of Tennessee
NASHVILLE—The Beacon Center of Tennessee today released its ninth annual Tennessee Pork Report, which exposed an astonishing $609 million in state and local government waste. The $609 million is the highest amount of government waste uncovered in a single year since Beacon started publishing the report.

Examples of wasteful spending outlined in the 2014 Pork Report include:

•More than $180 million in wrongfully paid unemployment benefits by the Tennessee Department of Labor & Workforce Development, which includes benefits to felons and dead people. This blunder takes the prize of “Pork of the Year” in the report. (Note: Previous post HERE.)

•A school district with a $48.4 million blunder, where equipment—including computers and even cars—somehow came up missing. (Note: It’s Shelby County. Commercial Appeal report HERE)

•$42.2 million on a swanky jetport in Cleveland to service high-end fliers. (Note: This disapproved spending item echoes a ‘Tennessee Watchdog’ report HERE.)

•$33 million towards a riverboat dock in Memphis that has been an unmitigated disaster so far. (Note: A WREG-TV report in May put the figure at $43 million.)

•A record-breaking $1.9 million wasted on state-owned golf courses.

“With more government waste, fraud, and abuse this past year than any before, the 2014 Pork Report will leave taxpayers seeing red,” said Beacon CEO Justin Owen. “It’s time for Tennesseans to start holding their elected officials accountable for the rampant misuse of their hard-earned money.”

The waste of taxpayer money found in the 2014 Pork Report comes from state and local government budgets, media reports, state audits, and independent research conducted by Beacon Center staff and scholars. (Note: PDF version of the full report is HERE.)

… “The Pork Report is an important tool for any taxpayer wishing to rein in wasteful government spending,” said Ben Cunningham of Tennessee Tax Revolt. “There is an especially troubling amount of fraud taking place at the local levels of government, and as a taxpayer advocate, I understand the importance of exposing that for taxpayers across our state.”

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.