I hope you've had a chance to visit our website, SeeTheSpending.org. It allows you to search the state budget to see exactly how the state is spending your money.
For instance, if you search by the category "Membership Dues," you'll find that the state spent $3.1 million last year for membership in more than 800 organizations. There are national associations of everything you could think of, and southern associations of some of the same things. There's a Southern Weights and Measures Association. I know the pace is a little slower in the South, but I didn't know we weighed and measured things differently.
We are members of the Apiary Inspectors of America, the Building Commissioning Association, if you want to know how to commission a building in unique ways. There's the Association for Linen Management, the Association of Official Seed Analysts, and the States Organization for Boating Access. There are some seemingly catch-all groups, like the National Association of Hearing Officials, the National Association of Regulatory Administration, and even the Federation of Associations of Regulatory Boards.
The Mississippi Development Authority and the Department of Transportation each spend about $400,000 a year in memberships, Public Broadcasting spends about $300,000, and the Department of Education spends $240,000.
You can see all this for yourself, and search other interesting categories, at SeeTheSpending.org.