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A $18 million no-bid contract awarded to a Meharry Medical College offshoot by Metro Nashville Public Schools took the top spot in the Beacon Center of Tennessee’s annual Pork Report.
Titled “2021 Pork Report: 12 Recipes for Government Waste, Fraud, and Abuse,” the report is formatted to look like a cookbook that offers “recipes” from state government as well as all three Grand Divisions.
Beacon first criticized the Meharry contract, which included COVID-19 testing and monitoring services, in March. Among the complaints about the contract is that it went not to the Meharry Medical College but to a for-profit company affiliated with the university.
Other examples of wasteful spending topping the report included Gov. Bill Lee’s “Tennessee On Me” program, which gave money for plane tickets to tourists in an effort to lure them to the state, a nearly $1 billion tax incentive package to Ford Motor Co. in exchange for a manufacturing campus at the West Tennessee Megasite, and in Knoxville, a $702 million government broadband plan.
“From no-bid contracts in Nashville to giving away kayaks in Johnson City, there is no shortage of government waste and abuse in this year’s Pork Report,” said Beacon Vice President of Strategy and Communications Mark Cunningham. “While this report is meant to be lighthearted, it’s important to highlight how the state and local governments have misused and abused our tax dollars this year and shows that government waste is a bipartisan problem.”
Staff members for The Beacon Center compiled information from state audits, state and local budgets, media reports and independent research to create the report. A full copy of the report can be found here.
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