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The top ten biggest lobbying efforts so far this year

1) The American Beverage Association – $343,372
This group, which began spending large amounts when Mayor Michael Nutter first proposed a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages, still tops this list. It spent more than three times as much as the next largest spender this quarter and slightly more than the next four big spenders combined. The soda tax has twice been defeated in city council.

2) The Pennsylvania Real Estate Investment Trust (PREIT) – $105,000
This public-traded real estate investment firm, which owns the Gallery at Market East, was the second biggest-spending spender. PREIT has made public its efforts to “overhaul” the Gallery at Market East; as reported by the Philadelphia Inquirer, the company recently said that it was seeking “a number of government concessions” to help finance the overhaul.

3) U.S. Airways – $83,325
The airline is currently in the middle of a proposed merger with American Airlines. Recently, Councilmembers Kenyatta Johnson and Blondell Reynolds Brown called for Council hearings on how the proposed merger might affect the proposed expansion of the Philadelphia International Airport, for which the Nutter administration has expressed support.

4) Comcast Cable Communications, LLC – $75,669
The media giant, which employs about 12,000 people in and around Philadelphia, has lobbied against a recent proposal to make paid sick leave mandatory. It has also lobbied against a proposal to raise the city’s Use and Occupancy Tax, a special real estate tax on businesses.

5) CH2M Hill – $75,000
The engineering consulting firm has lobbied several Council members about the proposed expansion of the Philadelphia International Airport. In June, a CH2M Hill subsidiary was awarded a $25 million contract by the city to manage the estimated 6.4 billion project.

6) NHS Pennsylvania – $51,924
The nonprofit health care provider reported that it lobbied Council, but did not say why. NHS Human Services CEO Paul Sachs recently testified before Council on the (negative) impact Governor Tom Corbett’s budget cuts would have on his agency’s services.

7) Wal-Mart Stores, Inc – $49,097
The international retailer reports efforts to influence 10th District Councilman Brian O’Neill on “community economic development opportunity” and, in its last report, “Wal-Mart store siting.”

8) PECO – $46,053
The electric company reports lobbying various City officials on several bills, including the paid sick leave measure. Its report does not specify why, but PECO has opposed the paid sick leave bill in the past.

9) Sugarhouse Casino – $45,000
The Casino reports only that it has lobbied Council and the city Department of Commerce in support of the proposed city budget.

10) Verifone, Inc. – $44,317
Verifone, Inc. which holds the contract for taxicab credit card systems, reports that it has lobbied the Philadelphia Parking Authority for changes to its contract.