Goldwater Institute releases 2008 legislative report card

Arizona’s forty-eighth legislature scored

The sixth edition of the annual Goldwater Institute Legislative Report Card scores Arizona legislators on 237 votes across four categories: education, constitutional government, regulation, and tax and budget. Those scores are tabulated into final percentage scores and letter grades that indicate how well each legislator adheres to the principles of limited government enshrined in the U.S. and Arizona Constitutions.

The highest-scoring senators were Republicans Ron Gould (Dist.-3), Jack Harper (Dist.-4), and Karen Johnson (Dist.-18).

The highest scoring representatives were Republicans Andy Biggs (Dist.-22), Russell Pearce (Dist.-18), and Trish Groe (Dist.-3).

The Goldwater Institute writes, “The report’s broad scope and intuitive grading scale shine light into what are often dark recesses.”

We thank them for this effort at providing that bright light.

6 Responses to Goldwater Institute releases 2008 legislative report card

  1. Tex says:

    Nice to see our Republicans running the highest scores for excellence and frugality!

  2. Rep Party Watcher says:

    Another report card – but perception is greater than the report card. And the grading system is still more Libertarian than true Goldwater conservative.
    How does one report Rep. Paton, an Iraq war veteran and Army Reserve Intel officer and standard bearer for what is Republican as a “C,” along with Sen.’s Linda Gray and Barb Leff? Gray and Leff probably have kept more friends in the business community than most Republicans – and thankfully they do because the Democrats and Gov. Janet have erroded our ability, as Republicans, to have friends there.
    Now only giving Nancy Barto a “B” is also a laugh. Here’s a woman who is a stalwart for conservative causes and gets a resounding reelection from what has been a fairly conservative district. That is as funny as giving Sen Bob Burns the cuppie doll “B-” grade like saying well, you’re almost there, but maybe your next spelling test and term paper will get you to a solid “B” – come on, this is a guy who wants to reform revenue sharing so the real truth of where the tax dollars are used up (by which city) can come out.
    Finally, Mark DeSimone, whose legacy is that his seat still passed to a Democrat, in part, because the Republicans in LD11 would not play together behind a good moderate to conservative candidate (and almost lost the incumbent Driggs). He got a “D” but let’s be honest, had he not had the police incident to his political demise, he would have been a tough incumbent to get out of office because he generally voted like Driggs.
    Ahhhhg, Charlie Brown, let’s be careful on reading the Goldwater Institute report card. They do some good things (like going after City north), but this report card is a bridge too far from reality and almost a bridge to nowhere when it comes to bringing Republicans and conservatives together.
    It is but a measure, but I am afraid others may view it as a “holy grail” guidance.
    Saying “no” to every bill does not make a statesman or good policy.
    What the Goldwater Institute has a hard time tracking is the many bills that get killed before any vote – so when you have able committee chairs like Burns and Leff keeping bad bills from moving foward, that is great, but those don’t register on the report card.
    Just some food for thought.

  3. Ben F says:

    The goal of the Goldwater Institute is admirable, but has some real problems.

    One flaw of this report card is that it does not show the results of refusing to vote for the best POSSIBLE bill (budget). The top scorers (Gould, Harper, Biggs, Farnsworth, and Groe) are just as responsible for the bloated, bulbous Nappy budget as the bottom feeders (Allen, O’Halleran, Burns, Hershberger and McClure). By remainng ?pure? they reduced the bargaining power of the Republican leadership and actually empowered the governor. Both groups are equally responsible for her horrible budget passing without forcing her hand on a more conservative budget.

    Another major flaw of this system is the fact that the scores are finally derived and made public five to nine months after the fact. It appears that no one, not even the authors, know which bills are going to be scored or the strength of that score while the action is occurring. Taking this long, the process is also open to “tweaking.” That makes these scores useful only for bragging rights with their peers as it is too late for voters to use for either Primary or General Election evaluation of candidates.

    On the other hand, the Pachyderm Coalition rates the bills soon after they are introduced but before action is taken. Thus legislators know BEFORE they vote in committee or on the floor how they are going to be scored, legislator scores are posted real time, and, according to feedback from different legislators, this method has mitigated the influence of lobbyists as they cast their votes. The Pachyderm scores were used in many Primary races to support conservative candidates and oppose liberal candidates.

  4. Kent says:

    Ben makes some good points. I relied on the PAChyderm scores last cycle. They were very helpful to me as I made my ballot decisions.

  5. ConservativeMajority says:

    Anybody who voted for or allowed out of committee, the bill to require unproven behavior therapy for autism-lite, was a big spender and drove up your health insurance policy by $50 per person in your family. The same people Ben glamourized, passed a hiden tax. Ben is probably the same guy that gave tens of millions of your dollars to Science Foundation Arizona and millions of your dollars to billionaire T. Boone Picken in the FY2006 and FY 2007 state budget.

  6. Ben F says:


    Either you did not read the post or you did not understand it. I did not galmorize ANY members, rather, I questioned the validity of the GI ratings for giving high marks to people who caused the passage of the bloated Nappy budget without moderation. I held high and low scored legislators equally responsibility because the effect of the refusal by the “high scorers” to vote for a less costly alternative was just as critical as the vote by the “low scorers” for the Nappy budget..