Phoenix, Arizona - The Arizona chapter of Americans for Prosperity released its 2017 Legislative Scorecard today, which is the 34th annual scorecard produced by AFP-Arizona and its predecessor organization, the Arizona Federation of Taxpayers. AFP-Arizona's scorecard assigned weights to over 300 bills according to their projected dollar impact on Arizona taxpayers, consumers and producers, with $1 million equaling one point on the scorecard.
"This year's state legislative session made great strides in advancing a free market economy," said AFP-Arizona senior legislative adviser Tom Jenney. "There were major victories on school choice, professional licensing reform, and transparency for taxing districts. Most importantly, unlike last year, this year saw some spending restraint, with a budget that increased more slowly than the combined rate of increase of population and inflation."
AFP-Arizona highlighted the following bills as being key to the successes of the session:
SB 1431: School Choice Expansion -- By expanding eligibility for Arizona's system of Empowerment Scholarship Accounts (ESAs), AFP-Arizona said this reform will help more Arizona schoolchildren obtain the educational resources they need to succeed.
SB 1437: Right to Earn a Living -- According to the group, this reform will allow would-be entrepreneurs and job-creators to challenge professional licensing regulations that are designed to stifle competition and that do nothing to protect public health and safety.
SB 1152: Stopping Hidden Tax Hikes -- AFP-Arizona said this reform protects families and businesses by requiring local governments to put sales tax increase measures on the ballot in November of even-numbered years, rather than hiding those measures in low-turnout elections.
As it has done in past years, AFP-Arizona also graded Legislators and the Governor on missed opportunities, including key bills that were prevented from reaching floor votes in the House or Senate. Among the missed opportunities this year was the Senate's failure to bring the Truth in Spending budget transparency reform to a floor vote, and the House's failure to bring the Education Spending Transparency Act to a floor vote.
The highest-scoring legislator on AFP-Arizona’s 2017 Scorecard was Rep. Travis Grantham of Gilbert, with 94 percent, which earned him the designation of “Hero of the Taxpayer.” The lowest-scoring legislator on the 2017 Scorecard was Sen. Martin Quezada, with 17 percent, which earned him the designation of “Champion of Big Government.”
As always, AFP-Arizona encouraged taxpayer activists to look at elected officials’ cumulative averages on its Legislative Scorecards. For some long-serving Legislators, the Scorecard has 13 years of data, going back to 2005.