ACTION ALERT / LEGISLATIVE REPORT
25 April 2011
Dear Arizona Taxpayer,
AFP-Arizona’s 2011 Legislative Scorecard (the 27th annual scorecard put out by AFP-Arizona and the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers) will not be published until this summer, and will end up scoring hundreds of tax, budget, and regulatory bills. But with the close of the 2011 legislative session on Wednesday, we are issuing a preliminary report on how Governor Jan Brewer and the Arizona Legislature performed, based upon the bills having the largest projected fiscal impact on Arizona taxpayers, consumers, and producers.
Action Item—Possible Brewer Vetoes
At this point, it is unclear how Governor Jan Brewer will perform on this year’s Scorecard. She will do poorly if she follows the bad advice of the Arizona Republic’s editorial board and vetoes the municipal managed competition reform (SB 1322), the interstate health insurance competition bill (SB 1593), and the statutory spending limit (HB 2707). Vetoes on those three bills would land her below 50 percent, in the category of “Friend of Big Government.” If she signs all three into law, she will score in the high 70-percent range (“Friend of the Taxpayer”).
Please call and email Governor Brewer TODAY and ask her to sign those three bills.
To send Gov. Brewer an email, use her web contact page: http://www.azgovernor.gov/Contact.asp
The phone numbers for Gov. Brewer’s office are (602) 542-1361 and (602) 542-4331
For a one-page pdf flyer you can print out and take to your neighbors/precinct residents, use this link: http://static.taxcutsforall.com//files/sb1322brewer.pdf
For more information about the three bills, use the links on this page: http://www.americansforprosperity.org/042511-gov-jan-brewer-veto-alert
Arizona’s Legislative Majority Performs Well
Overall, the typical Republican Legislator did a very good job on fiscal policy during the 2011 legislative session—thanks in large part to strong pressure from taxpayer activists and tea partiers. Except for a handful of outliers, Arizona’s GOP Senators and Representatives voted in favor of the following pro-taxpayer measures:
- Balanced budgets for FY 2011 and 2012 that include minimal gimmicks and that put the state on course to retire debt;
- Spending limit bills that would place obstacles in the way of out-of-control spending by future Legislators and Governors;
- The most comprehensive municipal services privatization bill in the country;
- Limits on property tax levy increases in local-government secondary taxing districts;
- Creation of school choice education savings accounts for children with learning disabilities;
- Expansion of Arizona’s existing school choice tax credit program;
- Legislation to allow interstate health insurance competition in the individual health market;
- Reform of state employee pensions, which are currently trending toward bankruptcy; and,
- Transparency bills requiring local governments and school districts to post their budgets in prominent places on their websites.
For Gov. Brewer and for the typical majority Legislator, the high base scores resulting from the votes enumerated above may be pushed slightly higher on the final Scorecard, given that AFP-Arizona has yet to grade hundreds of bills with low point totals. Legislators introduced dozens of good bills this session, and some of them made it to the Governor’s desk. (Of course, there were also many bad bills with low point totals, and we will likely discover some fiscal landmines among the dozens of bills that were passed quickly in the closing hours of the session).
Although typical majority members in both chambers will score highly on the Scorecard, it appears that the typical Senator will do somewhat better than the typical Representative. Given preliminary estimates, the typical Senator will score in the high 80-precent range (“Champion of the Taxpayer”), while the typical Representative will score in the high 70-percent range (“Friend of the Taxpayer”). Senators will likely score higher in large part for the following reasons:
- The Senate version of the budget included heavier budget cuts;
- The Senate’s spending limit referenda were constitutional, voter-approved measures (making them very difficult for politicians to override), whereas the House spending limit bill that went to the Governor’s desk would be statutory (and thus could be set aside by simple majorities in the House and Senate); and,
- The constitutional Paycheck Protection referendum (SCR 1028) failed to move in the House, having been supplanted by a version of the reform (SB 1365) that included unprincipled (and voter-unfriendly) carve-outs and that failed to get the necessary forty “emergency” votes in the House to prevent the government-worker unions from taking the flawed version of the bill to the ballot.
More about the Legislative Scorecard:
Use the link below to study AFP-Arizona’s scoring rubric (page 3), and to view hypothetical scores for Governor Brewer, the typical majority Senator, and the typical majority Representative (pages 4-6). For policy summaries of AFP-Arizona’s key bills, see pages 7-11.
The AFP-Arizona Legislative Scorecard weights fiscal policy and regulatory bills according to their projected dollar impact to Arizona taxpayers, consumers, and producers ($1 million equals one point). The AFP-Arizona Scorecard does not grade bills relating to constitutional, electoral, moral/social, or criminal-law matters, except insofar as those bills are projected to have a clear and significant financial impact on taxpayers, consumers, and producers.
To view AFP-Arizona’s 2010 Legislative Scorecard and Legislators’ cumulative averages since 2005, go to this URL (be advised that this cumulative scorecard does not include this year’s votes): http://static.taxcutsforall.com//files/azlsc2005-2010final.pdf
Please Remain Vigilant!
Grassroots taxpayer activists and tea party members can help us greatly in promoting free markets by reminding Governor Jan Brewer and Arizona’s Legislators that we will hold them strictly accountable in 2011 and 2012. We hope that the AFP-Arizona Legislative Scorecard proves to be a very helpful tool for activists in demanding fiscal accountability from their elected officials.
For Liberty, Tom