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April 6, 2004

Buffalo News editorial highlights dominance of government workers' unions in spending on lobbying

Four of the top five spenders on lobbying in New York State in 2003 were unions whose work is funded wholly or substantially by taxpayer dollars, new data from the New York State Temporary Commission on Lobbying show.

Two other top-10 spenders were hospital interests, which in New York also receive substantial funding from New York State taxpayers.

The top 10 spenders on lobbying in 2003 were:

"Looking for the union label isn't hard when it comes to the Top-10 list of the state's highest-spending lobbyists," the Buffalo News said in an April 6 editorial.

The top spender, the powerful health-care workers' union, "spent almost as much as the other nine Top-10 finishers combined—and accounted for about 10 cents of every lobbying dollar spent in the state last year," the editorial continued.

"Why should all this matter to you, the taxpayer? Because the state spending produced, in part, by this lobbying blitz comes from your tax dollars," the News wrote. "For example, 1199 last year joined forces with a hospital association to fund an ad campaign and April rally that derailed cuts in health care aid that had been proposed by the governor."