Goldwater Institute Policy Report
August 24, 2011
Engaged citizens make for good governments. That’s the central idea behind the ninth annual Goldwater Institute Legislative Report Card, which takes into account 375 votes during the first session of Arizona’s fiftieth legislature. The result is a citizen-friendly tool for evaluating legislators’ votes against a simple, important standard: their impact on liberty.
Each of the 375 votes taken by the Legislature was classified into one of four categories: education, constitutional government, regulations, and tax and budget. Each bill was then further assessed on its impact, with bills receiving “high impact,” “moderate impact,” and “incremental impact” scores. The results are tallied into percentage scores with letter grades.
Both the House of Representatives and the Senate averaged the same scores as last year, with a House average of 53% and a Senate average of 56%. Unlike past report cards, no legislator received an overall score of A or higher. Individual report cards for each of the 90 members were also compiled.
Top scorers in the Senate included Ron Gould with 75, Scott Bundgaard with 74; and Andy Biggs, Rick Murphy and Russell Pearce, tied at 73. In the House, top scorers included Judy Burges, with 76; Eddie Farnsworth, with 75; and Jack Harper, with 73.
Among the freshman class, nine legislators received an A-, while 12 received an F or F-.
The report card also compared citizen-funded candidates and government-funded candidates. As in past years, the data shows no discernable connection between the source of campaign financing and scores received.