An organization that advocates small government is out with its annual report on what it calls wasteful spending, and it's putting the University of Tennessee's Office of Diversity and Inclusion at the top of the list.
The Beacon Center says in its annual Pork Report, released Tuesday, that state lawmakers made the right decision when they stripped the diversity office of its $436,000 budget.
The organization points to a couple of web posts from last fall that got it into trouble: One in which the office encouraged students to use gender-neutral pronouns — especially when dealing with transgender people — and another in which it urged students and staff to avoid religious themes during holiday parties.
Other projects the Beacon Center criticized include the $750,000 Stix art installation next to the Music City Center, more than $8 million in subsidies for the "Nashville" television show and the state's $100 million budget for pre-Kindergarten programs, which the group says is unproven.
The Beacon Center also says state government should discontinue subsidies for museums and other institutions. It cites the $300,000 that the Civil Rights Museum in Memphis and the Tennessee Performing Arts Center each received this year, as well as the $200,000 that went to Tennessee Aquarium in Chattanooga and each of the state's four major zoos. The Beacon Center argues museums should pay for themselves through ticket sales.
In all, the Beacon Center calls $750 million in spending by the state of Tennessee wasteful.