Beacon Center calls out Nissan Stadium, show Nashville, UT for wasteful spending

Beacon Center of Tennessee Pork Report unveiling. WZTV FOX Nashville

In a Fox 17 Waste Watch report, the Beacon Center of Tennessee high lighting what it calls careless spending of Tennessee tax dollars.

This year's Pork report calculates $480 million of wasted tax payer spending across the state – but if you think that's a lot, it's actually an improvement from last year.

Here's how Tennessee spent your hard-earned money:

Right now, we're shelling out $19 million dollars a year to pay the tab for travel writers to take working vacations to Music City.

And when it comes to putting our city in the spotlight, Tuesday at the State Capitol, the watchdog group announced we've spent $45 million investing in the TV show Nashville.

The spending didn’t stop there, ABC cancelled the show when the ratings bottomed out, that’s when state and city leaders threw millions more at the television series to help it stay alive.

“In all, taxpayers would fork over nearly $11 million dollars to the show that couldn’t even make it on network TV, much less cable,” Justin Owen, CEO of the TN Beacon Center said.

The list goes on. -- $15-million for new plastic seats at Nissan Stadium, $100,000 on four new bike racks and $30 million to maintain state funded golf courses.

“The only way to hold government accountable is with information like this,” Cunningham, with the TN Tax Revolt said.

When it comes to the biggest waste of money, the Beacon Center lets you vote on the biggest offender.

“This year's 2016 PORK of the year award goes to none other than the University of Tennessee's Office for Diversity and Inclusion,” Owen said.

The organization encouraged students and staff to replace he-and-she pronouns to the gender neutral "ze," and condemned holiday themed activities like playing dreidel and hosting secret Santa parties.

Lawmakers voted to defund the UT’s office in April, and reallocated the $436,000 to go towards minority scholarships.

Tuesday, UT responded to being crowned the uncomplimentary winner, saying it remains committed to the many efforts to make sure UT is a safe and welcoming place.

As far as the spending goes, on the show Nashville, state and city leaders say it’s a terrific marketing tool that brought a 66-month streak of tourism growth.


NASHVILLE, Tenn.--The Beacon Center of Tennessee 2016 "Tennessee Pork Report" detailing "wasteful government spending" says officials have "squandered" $480 million of taxpayer money this past year.

The report took aim at Nissan Stadium, the show Nashville and the University of Tennessee Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

The report cites $15 million used for new seats at Nissan Stadium, $56 million in funding for the show "Nashville" and the $436,000 stripped from UT's Office for Diversity and Inclusion following the gender neutral pronouns controversy. The saga earned the report's "Pork of the Year" designation.

The remodeling of Metro bus shelters, the contracting of an artist in Oakland and the purchase of bike racks are among other spending decisions the report calls out as wasteful in Nashville.

See the full report HERE.

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