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Minnesota government sector lobbying
Each year, in accordance with Minn. Stat. § 6.76, the Office of the State Auditor releases the Local Government Lobbying Services report, which shows the expenditures by local governments and their associations for lobbyists and lobbying.
Lobbying the state
The above graph shows the percentage of total lobbying services expenditures by local government entities on staff and/or contract lobbyists in 2009.
Between 1999-2009, governments in Minnesota spent $71,478,806 lobbying the Minnesota state legislature and other departments and agencies in Minnesota. This includes lobbying through membership in government sector lobbying associations, groups of like-governments that collectively lobby for the interests of those governments.
|Year||Lobbying Total Minnesota State||Contract Lobbyists||Association Lobbying|
Data obtained through annual Minnesota lobbying reports
Lobbying the federal government
A report from the Freedom Foundation of Minnesota highlights 26 local government entities that collectively spent $5.2 million since 2006 lobbying federal officials. Scott County topped the list at $815,000, spending more than twice as much as Hennepin County, which is nine times larger.
Arguments for lobbying
One argument for government sector lobbying is that local governments need lobbyists in order to be heard amongst the multitude of other interests. Hennepin County Commissioner Peter McLaughlin says counties have to lobby because they "have to fight hard to get [their] message in the right places."
According to county Commissioner Jon Ulrich, lobbying has worked: lobbying efforts secured $62 million in critical transportation projects to Scott County in the past five years. Lobbying also saved the state $40 million when it helped foster agreement that the Highway 169/I-494 interchange reconstruction project didn't have to follow conventional guidelines but could be downsized, according to Shelton.
Minnesota's state auditor releases an annual report, the "Local Government Lobbying Services Report" that provides information on the costs of lobbying by Minnesota local governments and their associations. The report explicitly aims to "inform Minnesota citizens and policy makers on the amount spent by their local governments on lobbying services." The auditor has collected information since 1989.
This report does not apply to federal lobbying, however.
Taxpayer-funded lobbying associations
The above graph shows the percentage of local governments belonging to one or more associations in 2009.
- Association of Metropolitan Municipalities
- Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities
- Coalition of Utility Cities
- League of Minnesota Cities
- Minnesota Association of Small Cities
- Minnesota School Boards Association
- Association of Metropolitan School Districts
- Range Association of Municipalities and Schools
- Schools for Equity in Education
- Highway 14 Partnership
- North Metro Crossing Coalition
- North Metro Highway 10 Coalition
- North Metro I35W Corridor Coalition
- Minnesota Association of Soil & Water Conservation Districts
- Minnesota Association of Watershed Districts
- Minnesota Environmental Science & Economic Review Board
- Municipal Legislative Commission
- "Scott County: Spending tax dollars to get tax dollars," Star Tribune, September 4, 2010
- Local Government Lobbying Services
- "$6.4 Million in Taxpayer-Funded Lobbying," Illinois Policy Institute, May 24, 2010
- "Report calls for more oversight of local government lobbying," Post-Bulletin, August 24, 2010 (dead link)