WASTE WATCH: Resolutions Costing You Money on Capitol Hill - John Dunn
Updated: Tuesday, February 25 2014, 09:45 PM CST
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NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- FOX 17 News is tracking your tax dollars, and how they are being spent by politicians at the State Capitol. From birthdays, to anniversaries, lawmakers have no problem passing resolutions to honor their constituents.
It may come as a surprise just how much time Tennessee lawmakers spend not making laws. House and Senate members often introduce resolutions to honor the deceased, celebrate a retirement or anniversary, or urge someone to take action. A recent House resolution passed inviting conservative talk show host Sean Hannity to move to Tennessee.
This session state lawmakers will vote on more than 1,500 resolutions, and according to the most recent 2009 fiscal affairs report, they will cost you an average $300 a piece. "$300 is not an inconsequential amount of money, especially when you do it time, and time, and time again," says Ben Cunningham with Tennessee Tax Revolt.
Ben Cunningham is a taxpayer advocate who questions the cost. All those resolutions add up to more than $470 thousand of your tax dollars. "Politicians always want to recognize voters, and this is a nice way to do that, but it's a little expensive way to recognize a voter," says Cunningham.
Some resolutions are necessary. Amending the state's Constitution requires a resolution, but others may not be, like resolutions honoring legislative interns.
No lawmaker has filed more resolutions this session than Senator Doug Overbey of East Tennessee. He has filed 132 resolutions, more than triple the number of any other Senator. "One of the things we can do is to honor folks back in our communities who have contributed to our communities and to the state of Tennessee," says Sen. Doug Overbey, (R) Maryville.
Overbey didn't realize he had filed the most resolutions, but he feels strongly that it's important to recognize people.
Still, some believe the $300 dollar pricetag should give everyone pause. "$300 is not a huge amount of money, but it's taxpayer money, and they ought to spend it as carefully as we would spend our own money," says Cunningham.
There have been discussions about reducing the number of resolutions on Capitol Hill, and the number has gone down over the years, but there is still no limit on the number of resolutions that can be filed.
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