Despite recession, California cities spend millions on lobbying

Despite mounting money woes, California's local government agencies continue to spend tens of millions each year to influence state government — with taxpayers picking up a rising tab.

Far more public funds were paid by cities, counties and school districts during the two-year legislative session that ended Dec. 1 than at any time this decade, records show.

Statewide, more than $58 million was spent by local government, not including colleges, utilities, special districts or regional coalitions.

Tiny Half Moon Bay, with only about 13,000 residents, helped lead the parade by paying nearly $1 million to push two bills aimed at easing its $18 million debt over a stalled housing project. Neither bill passed.

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