People are asking where we can cut the budget. The story in todays paper about the Smoky Mountain Tourism Development Authority (SMTDA) is a great example of waste.
The SMTDA is spending taxpayer money, that it received from the hotel/motel tax, for a slogan. The Let Us Be Blount slogan is waste just like the recent Tennessee logo. In less than 10 seconds, I came up with a headline for this post. Let us be Blount: your taxpayer money is being wasted.
Taxpayer money shouldn’t be wasted on these types of projects.
Citizens tried to stop the commission from creating a bureaucracy where there would be no accountability to the commission other than to abolish the authority. Our pleas fell on deaf ears.
The commission was sold on the idea by being told that creating the authority would take a million dollars of debt off the county books by transferring it to the SMTDA. I remember Commissioner Gordon Wright telling me that. According to the paper the debt was actually $1.3 million. Think about the insanity of that reason for a moment. The projected budget, funded by the hotel/motel tax, is around $1.5 million. With that budget, the $1.3 million could have been paid off in one year and still have money left over.
The Heritage Center gets to double dip by getting money directly from the county and indirectly from the hotel/motel tax given to the SMTDA. It wasn’t that long ago that the SMTDA talked about training gas station attendants with tourism related matters. More waste.
As a kid I can remember watching government funded ads on tv promoting tourism. I have never visited any place because of some cheesy ad or slogan promoted by the government.
Let the free market work. Business people are smart enough to promote their businesses without the government doing it for them.