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For lobbyists, tough times are good for business

In the midst of a $6 billion state budget deficit and widespread private-sector layoffs, one Florida industry looks recession-proof: lobbying state lawmakers.

The Capitol lobbying corps earned up to $45 million from January through March to influence the Legislature. That's essentially the same amount that all 2,000 state lobbyists made in the same period in 2008, when Florida wasn't in a financial crisis. But lobbyists didn't earn all that money despite the dire financial times — they say they earned it because of the terrible economy.

"Sure, it's ironic," lobbyist Ron Book said. "But the bottom line is people and businesses get nervous in a down economy. And they need the help. In a bad economy, you need a seat at the table. You can't walk away." (story here)