By Jon Campbell
ALBANY, NY-- Spending on lobbying in New York state dropped to $205 million in 2012, a $15 million decrease from the previous year, according to a report Thursday from the state ethics board.
The lower total, a 7 percent drop, represented the first decrease in more than 12 years, the Joint Commission on Public Ethics found, and was fueled by a decline in advertising from some of the state's biggest spenders.
The $205 million total was the lowest amount spent on New York lobbying since 2008, when it totaled $197 million. In 2011, lobbyists reported spending $220 million, a record-high amount.
The biggest spender for the second year in a row was the Committee to Save New York, a coalition of mostly business groups that formed as Gov. Andrew Cuomo took office in 2010 and has spent large sums on television advertisements supporting his fiscal agenda.
The group spent $4.2 million in 2012, according to JCOPE, down from the $11.9 million it spent the previous year. But the Committee to Save New York has gone mostly silent in recent months as new disclosure requirements that require most lobbying groups to unveil their donors took effect.
Exxon Mobil Corp. was the second-largest spender, doling out $2.1 million in 2012 after not ranking in the top 10 in 2011. Major League Soccer, which is looking to open a new stadium in Queens, was third, also at $2.1 million.