Government Accountability

Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.

<p>Back-room deals and closed doors are not the stuff of free governments. Our work is making governments more transparent and accountable to citizens.</p>

An old proverb holds that half a loaf is better than none. But what do you do with less than half a loaf?

Special to the Tribune

The East Valley's legislators scored well on the Goldwater Institute's 2003 Legislative Report Card, which grades legislators according to their commitment to free markets, limited government, rule of law, individual liberty, and individual responsibility.

In fact, East Valley Districts 18, 19 and 22 had the highest averages for the state. With one exception, none of those districts produced a legislator with a score lower than 60 percent, which translates to an "B-" on the Institute's (rather generous) grading scale.

"If you give a mouse a cookie," a popular children's book says, "he'll want a glass of milk."

Simply put, this is standard behavior for legislators: Afforded an inch of responsibility by voters, they soon seize a foot of authority.

 

Who can keep track? With state legislators introducing nearly 1,000 bills each session, it's almost impossible to keep an eye on what our representatives are up to.

That just changed. On Monday, we release the Goldwater Institute's 2003 Legislative Report Card, analyzing legislative votes on 191 bills. We rank legislators from A to F according to their commitment to school choice, responsible fiscal and regulatory policy, and respect for the Constitution.

Editor's note: At the Goldwater Institute's annual dinner Saturday night, Arizona Republic columnist Robert Robb introduced Wall Street Journal editor emeritus Robert Bartley as the recipient of the Kolbe Excellence in Journalism Award. Here are excerpts from his remarks:

A few years ago, George Will introduced that year's Goldwater Award winner, Bill Buckley, as the most consequential journalist of our age.

Dear Laura:

In the hearings conducted at the Legislature, almost all that attend and testify are individuals who represent agencies and departments of government. This appears to be a violation of the separation-ofpowers doctrine that is supposed to be for the preservation of liberty of citizens. What impact do such activities have on legislation? And are we, the citizens, paying for government lobbyists to work for the interests of these same agencies and departments?

- Ken from Mesa

Dear Ken:

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