Influence: A Booming Business

Source: The Center for Public Integrity

The influence industry in state capitals continues to grow, as state lobbyists and the companies and organizations that hire them spent a record of almost $1.3 billion in 2006, according to the Center for Public Integrity’s sixth-annual review.

As legislative sessions open in January, lawmakers and lobbyists are certain to be busier than ever. In 2006, also an election year in most states, the nation’s 7,400 state legislators passed more than 33,000 laws and spent an estimated $1.3 trillion in taxpayer money, according to The Fiscal Survey of States for 2007, released jointly by the National Governors Association and the National Association of State Budget Officers.

More companies and organizations were signed up to send their own representatives to the statehouse: more than 56,000 in 2006, compared to just fewer than 50,000 in 2005. The total number of lobbyists remained about 40,000, still averaging out to more than five lobbyists for each lawmaker.

In the 43 states that reported lobby expenditures for 2006, the $1.3 billion total was almost a 10 percent increase in reported spending from 2005. And in those 43 states, the average spent per legislator on lobbying was more than $200,000.

Of the 42 states that provided totals in both 2005 and 2006, 21 recorded an increase in lobby spending.

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