Thursday, February 25, 2010

WEAC lobbying successful, inefficient

The Wisconsin State Journal (H/T Fox Politics) highlights the recent Government Accountability report on lobbying in 2009. The group that spent the most on lobbying was the Wisconsin Education Association Council, WEAC.
The Wisconsin Education Association Council spent $1.5 million on lobbying last year - nearly twice as much as the second biggest spender, the Wisconsin Insurance Alliance.
Wisconsin Manufacturers and Commerce, who are often accused of wielding undue influence in government by Wisconsin's progressive bloggers, only spent about one third of WEAC's total.

The result of this effort, according to the State Journal:
...helps explain why the teachers got precisely what they wanted from the Democratic-run Legislature and governor's office in the last state budget: repeal of state limits on teacher compensation.
So the WEAC effort could certainly be described as successful, but there was a curious detail in the report that the State Journal did not highlight. While WEAC topped the list in terms of dollars spent, they did not spend the most hours lobbying. That honor went to Wisconsin Independent Businesses Inc., a lobbying group for small businesses, headed by former Assembly Speaker John Gard.

WEAC spent $1.5 million and lobbied 7,239 hours, or about $207/hour. WIB spent $458, 000 and lobbied for 7,939 hours, which is about $58/hour. So Wisconsin small business owner's were able to lobby the government for about one-fourth of what it cost the teacher's union to lobby on a per hour basis.

If WEAC isn't able to be efficient when they spend their own money lobbying, what chance is there that their lobbying efforts will result in a more efficient use of taxpayer dollars on education?

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