"Pay-to-pray" had been used in state politics in 2004 in connection with prayer breakfasts.
4 May 2004, Associated Press State & Local Wire:
George Pataki plans to turn over documents outlining the activities of a trust fund set up to finance the New York Republican's annual prayer breakfast, an aide to Attorney General Eliot Spitzer said Tuesday.
A frequent government critic, Blair Horner of the New York Public Interest Research Group has said he expects the event would be packed with lobbyists seeking access to the governor and Mrs. Bush.
"We've had 'pay-to-play' before, but this is the first time I ever heard of 'pay-to-pray,"' Horner said when news of this year's breakfast became public.
4 May 2004, New York Post, pg. 12:
ALBANY - Attorney General Eliot Spitzer began his investigation of Gov. Pataki's prayer-breakfast "trust fund" yesterday, seeking spending records and corporate documents relating to the sponsor of First Lady Laura Bush's appearance here on May 11.
Such an action raised eyebrows among government watchdog groups - who have dubbed the controversy "pay to pray" - but a spokesman for the Pataki-controlled state Ethics Commission appeared to have already concluded that Hines had done nothing wrong.
18 February 2005, New York Daily News, pg. 3:
METERED PARKING on Sunday rakes in $7 million a year for the city, but City Council members are out to ban Sunday metering.
At a hearing yesterday on the proposed ban, Councilman Vincent Gentile (D-Brooklyn) charged that Sunday metered parking amounts to "a pay-to-pray situation" that penalizes religious worshipers.
28 February 2005, New York Post, pg. 19:
New Yorkers shouldn't have to pay to pray, mayoral hopeful Fernando Ferrer said yesterday.
Speaking from the pulpit at Greater Highway Deliverance Church in Harlem, he attacked Mayor Bloomberg for keeping parking meters in effect on Sundays.
"There shouldn't be a tax on worshipping," Ferrer said.
Sunday meters rake in about $12 million a year in fines, according to Finance Department estimates.
1 March 2005, New York Daily News, pg. 28:
Mayor Ups Time for "Pay-to-Pray
By David Saltonstall
MAYOR BLOOMBERG offered a bit of salvation yesterday to Sunday churchgoers - two-hour parking meters outside their places of worship, rather than the usual one-hour meters.
A day after likely Democratic challenger Fernando Ferrer slapped the mayor for what he termed City Hall's "pay-to-pray" policy that enforces most metered parking rules on Sundays, Bloomberg said the city wasn't going to relent.
There's nothing complicated about this," said Ferrer spokesman Chad Clanton. "People shouldn't have to pay to pray. It's wrong, and we should change it."