UT Office of Diversity snags infamous Pork of the Year Award

2016-pork-reportIn the organization’s 11th annual Tennessee Pork Report, the Beacon Center revealed that state and local government officials squandered $480 million of taxpayers’ hard-earned money this past year.

PorkoftheYear_PosternoBleed-588x784The report highlights a multitude of examples that show the mismanagement of taxpayer funds in Tennessee. For the second consecutive year, the Beacon Center allowed the people of Tennessee to pick the infamous “Pork of the Year” award. After hundreds of votes, the winner of the award was the University of Tennessee’s Office for Diversity and Inclusion.

According to the Beacon Center, this taxpayer-funded office encouraged students and faculty to use gender neutral pronouns such as “ze” and “zir” in lieu of “he” and “she” and tried to ensure that holiday parties on the campus were not Christmas parties in disguise.

The Pork Report listed more examples of what the Beacon Center called egregious examples of government waste from the Memphis area, including:

  • $200,000 to the Memphis Zoo, which taxpayers will have to shell out on top of the $15 entry fee if they visit the zoo
  • $65,000 to fund Memphis city council member trips, up 300 percent from the year before
  • $8,000 a year for the Memphis City Council to eat the best food Memphis has to offer

“Yet again, Memphis is a haven for waste and abuse of taxpayer money,” said Beacon CEO Justin Owen. “Whether it is flushing thousands of taxpayer dollars down the drain to fund the city council’s catered meals or spending a whopping $200,000 on the Memphis Zoo for no apparent reason, Memphis continues to be a wasteland for taxpayer money.”

Owen continued by noting, “The Beacon Center is committed to holding the government accountable for how it spends the tax dollars of hardworking Tennesseans. While Tennessee has much more fiscal restraint than many other states, there are still rampant examples of waste, fraud, and abuse to uncover. We will continue to hold government officials’ feet to the fire.”

Owen finished by saying, “It is important to be impartial and independent when writing this report because waste is a bipartisan issue.”

The 2016 Pork Report comes from state and local budgets, media reports, state audits, and independent research conducted by Beacon Center staff and scholars. An electronic version of the report can be found online at bit.ly/2016TennPork.

The Beacon Center of Tennessee is a nonprofit, nonpartisan and independent organization providing expert empirical research and timely free market solutions to public policy issues in Tennessee. See more at beacontn.org.