Minnesota's cities, counties, school districts and local government associations spent $7.8 million lobbying their own state last year.

That's almost half a million dollars less than local governments spent lobbying in St. Paul in 2011.

State Auditor Rebecca Otto, who issued state's annual lobbying report Wednesday, noted that the decrease isn't unexpected.

"There is a traditional pattern of lobbying expenses being higher during the longer legislative budget session and lower during the shorter bonding session," Otto said in a statement. "This report covers calendar year 2012, which was a shorter bonding session. Overall lobbying expenses showed the traditional decrease."

The coming 2014 session will be another bonding year and Minnesota communities have already put in almost $1 billion worth of requests. 

In 2012, 81 local governments spent a combined $3.9 million to send lobbyists to the Capitol. The 2012 session, among other things, was the year the Legislature was trying to decide on a location for the new Viking stadium and passed a $500 million bonding bill.

Unsurprisingly, the 10 communities that spent more than $100,000 on state lobbying in 2012 included the communities lobbying hardest to be the new home of the Vikings. Minneapolis spent $394,000, Hennepin County spent another $213,000, the Metropolitan Sports Authority Commission spent almost $341,000, Ramsey County spent $145,000, St. Paul spent $123,000 and Anoka County spent $121,000.

Local governments also spent another $10.6 million on dues to local government associations that also lobbied on their behalf in St. Paul. Those associations -- which include the Coalition of Greater Minnesota Cities, the League of Minnesota Cities and the Minnesota School Boards Association -- spent another $3.5 million on lobbying, funded by those dues.