New York businesses, unions and other organizations spent a record $220 million on lobbying last year, with a business-backed group that supports Governor Andrew Cuomo’s agenda topping the list, a report shows.
The expenditures were $7 million more than in 2010, and almost triple the $80 million spent in 2001, according to the report released today by the Joint Commission on Public Ethics. The panel was established last year by an ethics law supported by Cuomo, a 54-year-old Democrat. The commission took over record-keeping from its predecessor and was given broader regulatory authority.
The Committee to Save New York, currently running a television advertising campaign in support of Cuomo’s budget initiatives, spent $11.9 million last year, the report said. Service Employees International Union 1199, which represents health-care workers in the state, was the next biggest spender, with $6.8 million, the report said.
“This represents our ongoing commitment to fight for reforms in Albany and to ensure the progress continues,” Michael McKeon, a spokesman for the Committee to Save New York, said in a statement e-mailed today. “The special interests have dominated for so long in Albany, it takes a real effort to bring change.”
The committee is led by Kathryn Wylde, president of the Partnership for New York City; Rob Speyer, president of Tishman Speyer, a real estate company that manages more than $50.2 billion in property; and Steven Spinola, president of the Real Estate Board of New York.
“We set a record almost every year in lobbying,” Cuomo said today at a press conference in Albany, the capital. “In a perfect situation, that would be reduced.”