I get regular reports on the massive economic engine that is the Outdoor Recreation Industry. Bringing these dollars into a community is inexpensive, mostly requiring that we don't screw up what we have. That's harder than it should be due to organized corporate interests with little in the way of a conscience.

The good news is that the outdoor industry is a sleeping giant. In 2012, the OIA estimated its value to be as large as $646 billion, which means it pumps more money into the American economy than either the auto or pharmaceutical industries. And in a hostile political climate, economics may be the only common ground. “Republicans and Democrats both care about outdoor recreation, and both care about business,” says Benitez. (A bipartisan bill, championed by Benitez and the OIA, would require the Bureau of Economic Analysis to officially measure the size of the industry.)

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Lost Medicaid Funding

To date, the failure to expand Medicaid / TennCare has cost the State of Tennessee ? in lost federal funding.