City Government

Should Government Spend Tax $$ To Lobby?

A recent story in the IDAHO REPORTER about the Pocatello Auditorium District using $20,000 in taxes to lobby on its own behalf exposes only the tip of the proverbial iceberg when it comes to government influencing government.

Perhaps the worst offender in the influence peddling game is the City of Boise. The city is awash in public relations staffers euphemistically titled “information specialists” along with “governmental affairs” people who all devote most of their efforts toward selling city policy, projects, and plans to the public or influencing state and federal representatives.

Recent Boise boondoggles include hiring or funding PR firms for the infamous “Desire Named Street Car,” support of a constitutional amendment to deprive voter approval public debt, various CCDC deals, signs to promote the F-35 fighter jet, a marketing survey which is used to show public support for budget decisions, and lobbyists in Washington and at the Statehouse.

We also have to mention the annual “Live Aid” fund raiser speech the mayor gives before the Chamber of Commerce that garners a gross of close to $40,000 for the private lobbying group that usually falls into line with the Team Dave on public issues before the legislature or congress.

Since the GUARDIAN is seldom supportive of such actions, Team Dave will not respond to any requests for comment or information. They force us to file cumbersome, time consuming and costly requests for public records. Perhaps if we hired a PR firm or lobbyist…

Comments & Discussion

Comments are closed for this post.

  1. One of the functions of government is to influence public thinking for the agenda set by any given branch of govt.

    I would like to think we voted all elected officials to get up in front of various community groups and sell their agenda. We did not vote for all the talking heads we see at just about every level of government speaking for elected and appointed officials.

    Mayors, Commissioners and other public officials need to make themselves available to the public and be prepared to explain and defend what they wish to do with our tax dollars.

    I do not have much appreciation for anything less.

  2. Steve Edgar
    Jun 6, 2011, 10:35 pm

    Absolutely not! If they have to “sell” their idea to the public then they lack the political skills to convey their message. They have the “Bully Pulpit” at their finger tips through the media and their public hearings and commissions – use them.

    Why hire a PR firm at my expense to sell your idea? Put it to a vote.

    Trust the people who voted for you to select the proper course of action. After all, did you use tax dollars to get “us” to vote for you?

  3. Rod in SE Boise
    Jun 7, 2011, 10:22 am

    Press conferences and reporter interviews – yes. PR firms – no.

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