Saturday, September 25, 2010

It is time to privatize state golf courses or let them return to nature.

This morning at the DCRP Green Hills Pastry and Politics event, Justin Owens of the Tennessee Center for Policy Research (TCPR) spoke on wasteful government spending. One of the things he talked about was state golf courses. This year for the first time, the state lost money on the operation of every single one of the state's golf courses. They have been losing money for years, but in the past there was always one or two golf courses operating in the black, but this year they all lost money.

The state builds golf courses out of capital improvement funds. The money generated from the golf courses green fees is not expected to recoup the cost of construction but is expected cover operating cost. Since starting to track government-run golf courses in 2005, TCRP has exposed a loss to state taxpayers of $6,998,610. In 2010, over $1.6 million was lost. Fortunately, as a result of TCPR’s work to encourage fiscal responsibility, the state plans to close Old Stone Fort and T.O. Fuller courses this year, a move that will save the state nearly $311,000 annually. (To learn more, see the TCPR Pork Report.)

I am supportive of a strong state park system. Tennessee is a beautiful place and I want the state to preserve the natural beauty of our state and I am supportive of preserving wild waterfalls and important vistas and critical habitats. However, we must realize the state cannot do it all. We have to prioritize.

It is time for the state to get out of the golf course business. We should privatize the state golf courses. If someone else makes a profit, the state stops hemorrhaging money, and the golf courses remain open to the public, we win. The state should lease the golf courses to private operators and let the operators set the fees. Even if we lease a course for a dollar a year, we avoid losing million in operating expenses and we still win.

If no private operator will take them at any price, it is time to stop mowing them and let them return to nature.

Stumble Upon Toolbar
My Zimbio
Top Stories

1 comment:

  1. This is just a small piece of the State pursuing unconstitutional programs at taxpayers expense. TCRP is right and those courses need to go to private buyers who can operate them at a profit. If not, then why are taxpayers subsidizing golf? There are many more of these ridiculous programs that need to go.