Area governmental agencies are about on par with their peers in spending for lobbying services at the Minnesota Legislature.
State Auditor Rebecca Otto released a report this week that shows the costs of lobbying services provided to Minnesota local governments and their associations in 2007.
The report is intended to inform Minnesota citizens and policy makers of the amount spent by local governments on lobbying services.
According to reports filed with the Office of the State Auditor, local governments in Minnesota spent a total of $7,817,620 on lobbying in 2007. This represents an increase of $754,113 or 10.7 percent from the amount spent in 2006.
Sixty-five local governments (two more than in 2006) directly employed or hired contract lobbyists in 2007. These local governments spent a total of $3,582,782 on staff and contract lobbyists. This was $439,720, or 14.0 percent, more than in 2006.
Area governments did not hire lobbyists directly, instead gaining services through membership dues paid to associations, such as the League of Minnesota Cities, the Minnesota School Boards Association and the Association of Minnesota Counties.
Staff and contract lobbyists are paid to provide information to policy makers to influence legislative, administrative, or official actions regarding governmental units in Minnesota. These expenditures do not include dues and membership fees paid to local government associations.
In addition to the $3.6 million paid directly to staff and contract lobbyists, local governments paid dues of $10,024,137 in 2007 to local government associations that also represented their interests before the legislature. These associations spent $4,234,838 on lobbyists and lobbying in 2007. This represents an increase of 8.0 percent over 2006.
Of the $4.2 million spent on lobbyists and lobbying, $3,895,819 was funded exclusively through dues. This represents an increase of 10.7 percent over the $3,520,235 in association dues that were spent on lobbying activities in 2006.
Here's how local governments compare:
Stevens County paid dues of $5,120 to the Association of Minnesota Counties, of which $1,638 went to lobbying efforts.
The City of Morris paid dues of $4,351 to the League of Minnesota Cities, of which $479 went to lobbying.
The City of Alberta paid $611 in LMC dues, of which $67 went to lobbying.
The City of Cyrus paid $345 in dues to LMC, $38 of which went to lobbying.
The City of Chokio paid LMC $458 in dues, of which $50 was used to lobby.
The City of Donnelly paid LMC $311, of which $34 was used for lobbying.
The City of Hancock paid LMC $693 in dues, of which $76 went to lobbying. Hancock also paid $437 to the Minnesota Association of Small Cities, and 76 percent of those dues -- $332 -- went to lobbying efforts.
The Morris Area School District paid dues of $2,036 to the Minnesota Rurual Education Association, and $1,262 was used for lobbying. Morris Area also paid the Minnesota School Boards Association $2,992 in dues, of which $1,257 was used for lobbying.
The Cyrus School District paid $1,122 to MREA and $1,381 to MSBA. A total of $1,276 of those dues went to lobbying efforts.
The Hancock School District paid $1,264 to the MREA and $1,711 to the MSBS. A total of $1,503 of those dues were used for lobbying.
The Chokio-Alberta School District paid the MSBA $1,634, of which $686 was used for lobbying.
To view the complete report, which includes tables and graphs, go to: