Monday, July 09, 2007

Conservative Think Tank Hallucinates Government-Subsidized Fireworks "Boondoggles" in Tennessee

Beaucoup kudos to progressive blogger Sean Braisted for hunting this little gem down.

Almost a week ago, the Director of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research tried to rain on everyone's July 4 festivities by sending out a press release on how Tennessee taxpayers were being lit up to the tune of $100,000 for local fireworks displays this past Independence Day.

Here is the full text of the release, which as Sean points out, has been scrubbed off the TCPR website (fortunately, I saved it):

Independence Day Fireworks Displays Are Star-Spangled Boondoggles for Tennessee Taxpayers
City governments burn $100,000 of taxpayers’ money on pyrotechnics

NASHVILLE – This Fourth of July, cities across Tennessee will celebrate America’s independence by burning thousands of tax dollars through publicly-funded fireworks shows.

This year, at least nine cities and two state parks will combine to spend over $100,000 in hard-earned state, city and county tax dollars on Independence Day fireworks celebrations, according to state and local officials.

The East Tennessee city of Kingston plans to spend $26,000 of residents’ property tax and sales tax money on their annual Fireworks on the 4th Celebration, more than any other city in the State. Murfreesboro is slated to burn $17,000 of taxpayers’ money on fireworks. The Memphis suburbs of Collierville and Germantown will each spend $15,000 in public dollars to finance their pyrotechnics shows.

“It dishonors the spirit of Independence Day for cities fire tax dollars into the sky to celebrate liberty,” said Tennessee Center for Policy Research President Drew Johnson.

The Tennessee Center for Policy Research applauds Knoxville, Clarksville, Newport, Etowah and White House for relying on sponsorship agreements and donations that allow their Independence Day fireworks events to take place at little or no cost to taxpayers.

The city of Memphis forced taxpayers to fund a portion of the cost of the city’s annual Star Spangled Celebration, but event organizers and city officials refused to answer repeated public records requests about the exact cost.

“I imagine that few, if any, of our Founding Fathers would think that it is the proper role of government to set tax dollars ablaze, no matter how pretty it looks.” Johnson said.
Few if any of our Founding Fathers would think that the proper role of the media is to spread misinformation.

But, as Sean tells us, misinformation is exactly what Drew Johnson was passing out to the press nearly a week ago. The Roane County News reports that the money used for the city of Kingston's fireworks show was donated by private citizens and businesses.

The TCPR covered its tracks by blaming the "miscommunication" on an identified "city employee." And we must protect the identity of that source.

These are the same "empirical researchers" who brought you Al Gore's electric bill. So far the only mainstream media source that I know of who picked up and ran the TCPR's convenient untruth as uncontested fact was Murfreesboro's Daily News Journal.

1 comment:

  1. Dear TCPR,

    Is this the first year that cities and counties have set off fireworks in Tennessee on the Fourth of July? Why have we not heard about this before?