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Local governments spend $8 million on lobbying

ST. PAUL, Minn. - A new report shows local governments spent nearly $8 million lobbying state legislators last year. That includes lobbying by cities, counties, school districts and local government associations.

State auditor Rebecca Otto's annual lobbying summary released Wednesday shows the $7.8 million spent in 2012 is nearly a half million less than the previous year. Otto says it's not surprising spending was down last year because the legislative period involved was a shorter bonding session.

The Star Tribune reports the 10 communities spent more than $100,000 on state lobbying in 2012 including the municipalities that wanted to be the new home of the Minnesota Vikings stadium. Minneapolis spent nearly $400,000 on stadium lobbying.

The city of Bemidji paid the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities and the League of Minnesota Cities $33,902 in dues in 2012, according to the report. Of that, $15,556 was used for lobbying.

Bemidji Township paid the Minnesota Association of Townships $1,099, $77 of which was used for lobbying. Northern Township paid the same firm $1,435 in 2012, $100 of which was used for lobbying.