Gay-marriage backers, Philip Morris spent big on lobbying last year
March 18, 2014 — 9:29pm
A new report finds that both the successful campaign to legalize gay marriage and the unsuccessful campaign to stop cigarette and tobacco tax increases spent more than $1 million on lobbying in Minnesota last year.
The report, released Tuesday by the Minnesota Campaign Finance and Public Disclosure Board, shows that the pro-gay marriage Minnesotans United and the Altria Client Services, the parent company for Philip Morris, joined the million dollar spenders for the first time in 2013.
Also appearing on the big spender list -- business groups and the teachers union. With spending of more than $2 million, the Minnesota Chamber of Commerce was the single biggest spender on lobbying, as it often is.
Reports to the campaign watchdog agency found that both the Chamber and the Minnesota Business Partnership increased their spending last year. The chamber spent $100,000 more than it had in 2012 and the Business Partnership spent $600,000 more. The Business Partnership spent a total of nearly $1.5 million in 2013.
The two business groups successfully batted back massive proposed business-to-business tax increases in 2013. Some smaller tax increases on businesses transactions with other businesses did pass, however, This year's Legislature is looking at repealing those.
Education Minnesota's lobbying spending came in just behind the business groups, with $1.2 million in spending on lobbying. That, too, constitutes an increase from the year before but is still slightly less than the massive teacher's union spent in 2009.
Gov. Mark Dayton, speaking to a mostly Republican audience at the annual Minnesota Business Partnership dinner, repeated his familiar attack on the House GOP, blaming them for a legislative impasse on transportation.
The 20-year-old man suspected of killing five people with a rifle at a Macy's makeup counter had a string of run-ins with the law in recent years, including charges he assaulted his stepfather, and was described by a neighbor as so "creepy, rude and obnoxious" that she kept a Taser by her front door.