"As you well know, the government runs our lives. People and companies in our area don't always know what's going on in Columbus."
That's Richard A. Weiland, a lobbyist based in Ohio who has been contracted out by the city of Cinncinati and other municipalities to grab goodies for his clients. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports:
There are at least five times as many state lobbyists working for cities, townships and counties in Southwest Ohio today than five years ago. The Enquirer identified 33 lobbyists representing local governments in the region, compared with just six registered in March 2002. And they'll make at least $520,000 in fees this year….
David Hansen, president of the Buckeye Institute for Public Policy Solutions, a conservative research group in Columbus, complained that lobbyists never ask for state budget cuts.
"These lobbyists should be walking around with a sign around their necks that says: 'Your tax dollars at work trying to raise your taxes.' "
Jim Urling, chairman of anti-tax group COAST, echoed Hansen's concerns:
"Now we have lobbyists, paid for with tax dollars, in Columbus seeking more tax dollars from bureaucrats and legislators paid with tax dollars," he said. "Working stiffs not on the public dole are left entirely out of the debate, but are required to pay the bill from this incestuous system."