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KNOXVILLE, TN – Following reports that Governor Bill Lee’s budget amendment includes a $13.5 Million dollar grant for a minor league stadium Americans for Prosperity-Tennessee (AFP-TN) urged legislators to eliminate politically-driven handouts.
AFP-TN State Director Tori Venable issued the following statement:
“Governor Lee wisely referred to the influx of cash our state is set to receive as economic meth. Money that encourages growing government, cronyism, and fueling a spending addiction with one-time funds will ultimately lead to less economic growth. And yet, many officials, well-intentioned as they may be, are lining up to support a $13.5 million dollar give-away for a stadium that should be fully funded by the individuals that will own it, not the taxpayers.
“If surplus dollars are not going to be spent on tax relief or protecting Tennessean’s Constitutional rights, they certainly should not be spent as a giveaway to the politically connected at the expense of everyone else. Legislators should take this one step further by ending all corporate welfare and establish a true free market where businesses thrive based on merit, not political connections and tax handouts.”
Since 1995, Tennessee has awarded a total of 9,264 subsidies costing almost $4.3 billion, all under the guise of “economic development”. Most recently, the state and the city of Nashville offered a combined $100 million worth of incentives to Amazon for creation of a new logistics hub.
In 2017, the Beacon Center of Tennessee, in its annual Pork Report, highlighted the state’s Department of Economic and Community Development for its dubious Industrial Machinery Tax Credit program, which spent $67 million in three years and resulted in just 55 jobs. That’s $1.2 million per job.
According to research by the Mercatus Center, Tennessee could reduce its corporate income tax rate by 13 percent, and its sales taxes by two percent if it eliminated all of its corporate welfare incentives, saving taxpayers billions each year.