The Beacon Center of Tennessee is committed to the implementation of good policy, and that means providing information the public needs to make the right decision when it comes time to enter the voting booth. That’s the goal of Beacon Center’s annual “Pork Report” which recently analyzed exactly where tax dollars are going and how they are spent. The conclusion? Unfathomable waste is contributing to Nashville’s financial woes.
One of the biggest concerns is the inability for Nashville to follow its budget properly. Whose fault is it? The Pork Report’s findings lay the blame squarely at former Mayor Megan Barry, whose recent affair with a bodyguard resulted in at least $174,000 of wasted taxpayer money. She eventually resigned because of the disgrace. The report found hundreds more examples of misspending.
The report takes a set of priorities the residents of Nashville have, and determines where the most fat should be trimmed based on those findings. According to Beacon Center, each new city contract should be audited. For example, the city provided HCA about $1 million for furniture alone. Do the taxpayers think that’s where their money should go? Probably not.
The city had been selling property owned by Metro government in order to make up the difference in overspending, but the Nashville Metro Council recently voted unanimously to prohibit the sale of its property for those reasons. Any proceeds from such sales will still be funneled toward the current debt.
Even though the measure passed with such solid support, some council members criticized it for reducing Metro’s revenue-generating ability in times of economic turmoil. If a recession hits, then what kind of measures will keep the city from falling into greater debt? So far, we don’t know.
This was after the Nashville Public School Board voted to sell some of its land to fill a hole in its budget from 2018 until 2019. They plan to ditch about 12 acres of land at 0 Brick Church Pike, another three quarters of an acre at 2795 Pennington Bend Road, and two former school properties, all of which should result in over $5 million of revenue. That sounds like a gigantic band-aid for the new year’s operating costs, and it only works once. What happens in 2020? What changes are being made to ensure a better budget?
One of the biggest reasons behind these cash concerns is lack of transparency by government officials.