The City Paper reports on the Tennessee Center for Policy Research's "pork report" that includes about $260 Million in government waste at the state and local level. The report comes on the heels of an announcement by Governor Bredesen that he may have to find as much as $500 Million in additional cuts to the state's budget.
You can read the entire report here at their site. TCPR is providing a valuable service in keeping a close watch on government spending. At a time when there is inadequate funding for social services, we have to subject the budget to this level of scrutiny. But that doesn't mean the report is without some troubling quirks.
Interestingly, the report attacks funding of the arts, in particular plays and films that deal with sexual themes. This sex-baiting is unfortunate. Even if a few productions or films lacked merit, the report focuses on the ones with sexual themes. They don't mention the ones that apparently (if they liked any of them) possessed artistic merit. The effect is to cast doubt on all state funding on the arts, which is counterproductive to our state's economic development. The North Carolina Arts Council notes that in "2006 arts industry wages alone infused more than $3.9 billion into North Carolina’s economy, according to research by Regional Technology Strategies (RTS)."
It might be helpful if TCPR suggested a review of arts funding criteria rather simply use sex to whip taxpayers into a frenzy about government spending.