Ah, yes … the “stimulus” bill. It certainly has helped the economy. At least, it has stimulated the hiring of lobbyists to help everyone far and wide get their hands on the loot. The latest porkers at the federal trough trying to get more of their snout into our collective pockets are local governments.
The city fathers of Tracy, Calif., have furloughed many city workers for eight days this summer. They’ve cut staffing by about 5 percent. And now they are trying another way to help make ends meet in these tough economic times — They’ve hired a Washington lobbyist.
It’s an idea that seems to be spreading. Senate lobbying records show that dozens of cities and counties signed up with lobbying firms in the first three months of this year. Their goal is to get a greater share of the money flowing out of Washington from a record federal budget and the $787 billion economic stimulus package.
Some of the communities hiring lobbyists have done so before and are simply shuffling their lineup or adding to it. But others are getting into the lobbying game for the first time.
“This is a new venture for the city. This is a relatively conservative community and has a high degree of self-reliance, but we also understand there’s also a great opportunity for all communities, Tracy included,” said Leon Churchill, city manager for the suburban community about 60 miles east of San Francisco. “The opportunity was too immense to bypass.”
Who’s going to end up paying for all of the wonderful projects landed by the lobbyists? Don’t ask!
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