A Tennessee government watchdog group has released its annual “pork report,” highlighting government waste across the state. The Beacon Center says in 2018 there was plenty of government pork spent in our area.
The Local I-Team pulled apart the pork report.
Memphis is known for BBQ, from our world championship cooking contest to the dozens of local restaurants that serve up plates of pork.
This year’s pork report highlights a different kind of pork. Government pork, as they call it, and the Beacon Center says there is plenty of “pork” in West Tennessee.
According to the report, the largest waste of taxpayer money in our area is near Brownsville, Tennessee. It’s known as the Memphis Regional Megasite. It is 4100 acres of industrial real estate. The hope is to lure factories and industry to the site. So far nearly $175 million of your tax money has been spent and it’s not yet shovel ready.
“If it was a great place for the private sector to come, why has nobody come here. You have taken $175 million of our money and put it into absolutely nothing,” said Mark Cunningham, Beacon Center VP of Communication.
The report is also critical of the $5 million Service Master received to renovate the former Peabody Place mall into its new headquarters.
“It is not the role of the government to help makeovers for companies’ office spaces. I would love a renovation of my office and a bigger window, but that’s not taxpayer’s role,” said Ron Shultis, Beacon Center Policy Coordinator.
More pork according to the report: Shelby County Commissioners decided this year to provide lifetime health and insurance benefits to commissioners who serve at least 8 years.
The report also highlights the city of Memphis’ operation of 8 public golf courses. In 2017, the city lost $2 million operating the courses. This year the city is spending even more money: $1.2 million on a new irrigation system at Fox Meadows golf course.
The Beacon Center’s “Pork of the Year Award” goes to former Nashville Mayor Meghan Barry. She was having an affair with her bodyguard. He was paid overtime for his work chauffeuring Barry around. Barry plead guilty to theft and resigned.
While some people may say the money was well spent to generate jobs, and boost the economy, the folks at the Beacon Center call it pork.