Goldwater Institute Gives Legislature a "C" in Protecting Freedom

Posted on November 09, 2009 | Type: Press Release
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Phoenix--Today the Goldwater Institute released its seventh annual Legislative Report Card, scoring Arizona lawmakers on 305 votes cast this year. The Report Card measures how well each legislator fulfills his constitutional duty to protect individual rights and adheres to the principles of limited government.

The average House of Representatives score was 50 percent and the average Senate score was 53 percent, indicating a near equal number of votes to uphold liberty as there were to restrict it. The average grade in both chambers this year was a C, a slight improvement over last year, when the average grade was a C-.

The Goldwater Institute's Legislative Report Card is the most comprehensive analysis of legislative activity issued in the state. This year it scored legislators on 305 votes across four categories: education, constitutional government, regulation, and tax and budget. The primary criterion is whether a vote for or against each bill expands or restricts liberty. Bills that were scored positively include:

--Education bills that give parents more choice, make public schools more accountable and competitive, expand the teaching pool through relaxed certification requirements, and encourage local control of schools;

--Legislation that repeals and restricts government programs that lie outside the government's constitutional duties, decentralizes authority, or allows people to govern themselves;

--Legislation that removes regulation and fosters a free economy;

--Bills that reduced the tax burden, made government expenditures more transparent, and restrained government spending.

Bills that added to regulation or licensing schemes on private business, increased government spending, created industry-specific tax incentives, or otherwise increased taxes were all scored negatively.

The highest overall scorer in either chamber was Senator Ron Gould (R-3), with 80 percent, an A. The highest scoring representative was Andy Biggs of Gilbert. The highest category score in either chamber went to Rep. Jerry Weiers, with a 96 percent in education. Districts 6 and 22 tied for the highest district average at 69 percent.

You can read the Legislative Report Card here. Visitors to the website can look up lawmakers' scores by last name, district or zip code. While these scores illustrate legislators' relative commitment to liberty, they are not absolute measures of a legislator's merit and do not constitute any endorsement.

The Goldwater Institute is an independent government watchdog supported by people who are committed to expanding free enterprise and liberty.

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