TN Pork Report: ‘Millions of dollars in government waste, fraud, and abuse’ in 2020

Tennessee News

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Written to the tune of the 12 Days of Christmas, the tongue-in-cheek Beacon Center of Tennessee’s Pork Report highlights what Mark Cunningham, the company’s Vice President of Communications, calls serious government missteps.

“It’s not just Democrats. It’s not just Republicans. We go after anything that we think is waste,” said Cunningham.

This year, the “Pork of the Year Award” goes to the substantial property tax hike for Nashvillians and At-Large Councilmember Steve Glover agrees.

“We should never have hit taxpayers with a 34 to 37 percent property tax increase. This was the wrong time. The wrong amount. The wrong everything,” said Glover.

District 2 Councilmember and the city’s Budget and Finance Chair Kyonzté Toombs weighed in.

“That 34% is a culmination of years of property tax increases that should have occurred in the past but didn’t,” said Toombs, “Hopefully the council will be more forward thinking, and adjust the tax rate as appropriate, so we don’t come to a situation down the line where we have to have a huge increase because there’s a shortfall.”

Then there’s the multi-million dollar no-bid contract awarded by the state to a sock manufacturer for five million masks. Despite limited options during COVID, Cunningham points to this.

“If you put it out for bid, and only one company comes back, then I understand why you make that decision. But we should not be having a no-bid contract when it comes to something worth eight million dollars,” said Cunningham.

Taxpayers are also supporting finance guru Dave Ramsey, who according to the report, was awarded $2 million to expand his company’s Franklin headquarters.

We asked Glover, “Would you say the problem therein lies with Dave Ramsey? Or, the system?”

“With the system,” responds Glover. “It is offered. They’re legally asking for what they can legally ask for.”

Although the report only prints potential waste, News 2 asked Cunningham to name one thing that’s improved since last year.

“For all the things we disagree with Mayor Cooper on,” said Cunningham, “[Cooper] has done a decent job in renegotiating some of the deals with the Titans and Predators.”

Steps in the right direction, Cunningham says, to getting the city’s budget back on track.

To read the entire Beacon Report, click here.

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