Wednesday, January 27, 2010

AFP-Arizona Releases 2009 Legislative Scorecard

Congrats to Senator Russell Pearce, Sen. Rick Gray, and Rep. Sylvia Allen for tying with the highest scores of 90!

PHOENIX—The Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity (AFP-Arizona), formerly the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers, today released its 25th annual “Friend of the Taxpayer” scorecard on the Arizona Legislature.
To view the 2009 Scorecard and legislators’ cumulative averages since 2005, use this URL:
AFP-Arizona graded dozens of tax, budget, and regulatory bills from the 2009 regular session, as well as bills from five special sessions, giving weight to bills according to their projected dollar impact to taxpayers, consumers, and producers in Arizona.

According to AFP-Arizona, taxpayer victories during the last year included approximately $1.5 billion in baseline spending cuts to the FY2009 and FY2010 budgets, passage of a bill that allows for private enterprise to provide for Arizona’s transportation infrastructure, and referral of the Arizona Health Care Freedom Act and the Save Our Secret Ballot proposition to the November 2, 2010 ballot. But the 2009 sessions also produced disappointments for taxpayers, including the collective failure of the Governor and Legislature to implement measures that would balance the state’s long-term structural budget deficit in the near future.
AFP-Arizona was especially disappointed by the narrow failure in the Senate of a referendum bill to reduce the level of spending allowed by the state’s existing constitutional spending limit. “The problem with the existing limit is that it was too high to prevent the kind of over-spending we saw during the Napolitano years,” said AFP-Arizona director Tom Jenney. More than any other bill on the scorecard, the spending limit referendum bill (SCR1006) was crucial in dividing “Champions of the Taxpayer” from legislators with lesser designations. “This deficit crisis was caused by the state government’s out-of-control spending,” Jenney said, “but the Legislature and Governor have failed to address that problem.”
Other disappointments included the failure to advance a bill that would allow Arizona health insurance consumers to purchase plans available in other states. “By not moving that bill forward,” Jenney said, “the Legislature has allowed Arizona insurance consumers to remain captive to the local fiefdoms of big insurance companies. Further, they failed to provide a competitive alternative to the federal takeover of the health insurance marketplace proposed by Obama, Pelosi and Reid.” Yet another disappointment for AFP-Arizona was Gov. Brewer’s veto of a bill to extend fiscal transparency to the county and city levels.
The scorecard’s top award, and the designation of “Hero of the Taxpayer,” went to longtime taxpayer champion Russell Pearce (R-Mesa). Also reaching the status of “Hero” were Senators Sylvia Allen (R-Eastern Counties) and Chuck Gray (R-Mesa).
Sen. Meg Burton Cahill (D-17) found herself at the bottom of the list, with the designation of “Hero of Big Government.”
Governor Jan Brewer earned a score of 43 percent on the scorecard, earning the designation of “Friend of Big Government.”
“To her credit, and unlike her predecessor, Gov. Brewer has looked realistically at the magnitude of the deficit,” said Jenney. “Where we differ is in our approach to digging our way out of the deficit. Brewer was monomaniacal in pushing a job-killing billion-dollar tax hike, and she held much-needed budget reductions hostage to that vision. She also demonstrated a lack of imagination when it came to streamlining government and unloading unproductive state assets.”
Since 2008, AFP-Arizona has given legislators advance notice of which bills would be scored as key bills during the session. Legislators and activists interested in viewing AFP-Arizona’s scoring rubric for the 2010 session can use this link:

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