knoxville news
knoxville news entertainment rss linkedin twitter facebook contact smoky mountains knoxville legal notices travel knoxville sports business knoxville daily sun lifestyle food knoxville daily sun advertising about knoxville daily sun

Knoxville named in Beacon Center 2023 Pork Report
Published December 13, 2023; 5:24 p.m.

NASHVILLE - Today, the Beacon Center released its most famous annual publication, the Pork Report. The report shows the most offensive examples of wasteful spending across the state of Tennessee. Examples in this year's report range from the city of Knoxville's expensive attempt to skirt open records laws to the state's $200 million handout to the Tennessee Performing Arts Center.

Other 2023 Pork Report entries included:

• The nearly $5 million taxpayer subsidy given by the state of Tennessee, the city of Franklin, and Williamson County to benefit the California burger chain In-N-Out's move to Tennessee.
• The large property tax increases in counties such as Rutherford, Greene, and Lincoln instead of getting their fiscal house in order.
• Memphis giving out over $1 million to yet another failing TV show on the verge of cancellation.

"From Jackson buying an abandoned strip mall to the city of Bristol (Tennessee) paying $5 million to move a summer league baseball team's stadium a few miles away, there is enough pork in the state this year to feed a sumo wrestling competition," said Beacon Vice President of Strategy and Communications Mark Cunningham.

Cunningham continued, "The Pork Report continuously shows the risk to taxpayers for these wasteful projects, including correctly predicting the additional taxpayer expense from Hamilton County taxpayers for the purchase of the McDonald Farm. Hopefully, this year's report will make politicians and bureaucrats think long and hard about how they spend tax dollars in the future."

After appearing in last year’s Pork Report for suing (and losing) to get streaming services to pay city fees similar to cable companies, the city of Knoxville is making another appearance. This year, the city tried to circumvent open records laws by hiring a third party to conduct a search for a new police chief to avoid a paper trail. This is akin to asking your dog to eat your homework, just so you can say you don’t have it. Props to the mayor’s office for the creative workaround, but transparency shouldn’t be shrouded in secrecy, and luckily a judge agreed.

Making this even more offensive, one of the private attorneys representing the city admitted to the court that the whole scheme was done intentionally to skirt open records laws. Kudos to the attorney for his candor to the court. Instead of using its own human resources department that is already funded by taxpayers, the third party search firm cost taxpayers $43,000 plus an additional $67,000 in legal services to defend this move meant to avoid transparency.

The 2023 Pork Report comes from state and local budgets, media reports, state audits, and independent research conducted by Beacon Center staff. You can read the full report at

The Beacon Center empowers Tennesseans to reclaim and protect their freedoms, so that they can pursue their version of the American Dream. The Center is an independent, nonprofit, and nonpartisan research organization dedicated to providing expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee.



knoxville daily sun Knoxville Daily Sun
2023 Image Builders
User Agreement | Privacy Policy