Tennessee Pork Report Focuses On $500 Million In "Waste, Fraud And Abuse"

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

The 2009 Tennessee Pork Report, released today, "exposes over $500 million in waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars," officials of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research said.

Prepared in partnership with Citizens Against Government Waste, the report is described as "the only extensive examination of the waste of taxpayers’ money committed by politicians and bureaucrats at all levels of government in Tennessee."

Officials said, in total, the Pork Report uncovered nearly 100 examples of wasteful and questionable spending by state and local governments, including $7.4 million to finance government-approved art, including a grant to an author of sex novels and support for a film festival showing “porn-influenced sexual encounters,” and $482,572 to fund the “Barge to Nowhere,” a ferry that carries fewer than 17 passengers per day.

Other examples of questionable expenditures included:
· $9 million for the “Party Bunker,” an underground entertainment facility buried in the front yard of the Governor’s Mansion;
· $6.5 million to “eradicate” boll weevils, even though Tennessee’s cotton fields are already more than 99 percent free of the pest;
· $2.3 million to bailout 11 insolvent state-owned golf courses;
· $1 million to study mice genes; and
· $39,816 to pay for phone lines in state offices that went unused.

“The government waste uncovered in the Pork Report shows a blatant disregard for taxpayers and their hard-earned money,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson. “By rooting out the waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars uncovered in the Pork Report, Tennessee’s policymakers have an opportunity to show their commitment to responsible spending and address the state’s budget shortfall.”

He said, "The fourth annual Pork Report exposes many areas in the state budget where wasteful spending can be eliminated, providing a valuable resource to legislators and taxpayers.

"Examples of government waste, fraud and abuse of tax dollars in the Pork Report come from the State Budget, appropriations bills, audits, media reports and independent research conducted by the Tennessee Center for Policy Research."

The 2009 Tennessee Pork Report is available online at: http://www.tennesseepolicy.org/files/pdf/2009_Pork_Report.pdf

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