Beacon Center of Tennessee releases 2015 Pork Report - WMC Action News 5 - Memphis, Tennessee

Beacon Center of Tennessee releases 2015 Pork Report

(Photo Source: IKEA) (Photo Source: IKEA)

Over $760 million of taxpayer money was wasted across Tennessee this year, according to the Beacon Center's 2015 Tennessee Pork Report.

Of all the destinations, three of them are here in Memphis. 

Coming in first is IKEA. The company chose Memphis over Nashville, along with other cities. The Beacon Center was critical of Memphis leaders for giving $9.5 million in tax breaks to IKEA. 

"Your mom and pop shops, your local furniture stores who might compete with IKEA don't get those same handouts, don't get those same breaks, so you have government picking winners and losers," Justin Owen of the Beacon Center of Tennessee said. 

Coming in second is Bass Pro Shops at the Pyramid. As the biggest Bass Pro, it has hotel rooms, restaurants, and even a bowling alley. 

The company dumped $113 million into the store after the City of Memphis gave $48 million in taxpayer handouts. Thirty million was originally promised.

"It's significantly over budget, more than 50 percent over budget, and so taxpayers really have to start wondering, is this really benefiting our community?" Owen asked. 

Finally, the National Civil Rights Museum. The report is critical of taxpayer money going towards the museum with $250 thousand in 2014 and $50 thousand in 2015. 

A statement regarding this report said: 

The National Civil Rights Museum is a primarily privately funded institution with 250,000 visitors for the 2015 fiscal year.  The museum receives funding for 6.5 percent of total expenses annually from the state of Tennessee for major capital improvements and maintenance of a state-owned building.

"It's precisely the civil rights museum is renown and beloved that we'd like to see it be self-sustaining as well," Owen said.

To read the full 2015 pork report, click here.

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