Americans for Prosperity’s Florida chapter (APF-FL) released their 2013 Economic Freedom Scorecard, examining more than 3,000 votes from the 2013 legislative session on twenty different economic freedom issues.
As many legislators received A+ scores as failing scores on the range of bills regarding lower taxes, government transparency and accountability, decreased regulatory burdens, school choice, and eliminating cronyism.
To AFP-FL state director Slade O’Brien, the scorecard is useful to Floridians who need to know whether their representatives are voting to project their interests in Tallahassee, or voting for special interests lobbyists.
“This scorecard shows which legislators voted to keep Florida’s tax and regulatory burdens low, encourage economic growth through free markets, and demand an efficient and accountable government,” stated O’Brien, “It also shows a stark picture of those elected officials that aimed to increase taxes on hardworking taxpayers, increase government burdens on small businesses, and support cronyism through special interest loopholes.”
The Scorecard priorities stem from the AFP’s “Five for Florida” plan, which laid out the group’s philosophy and priorities. Policies that were heralded by the AFP included FRS pension reform, economic development incentives accountability, accountability for state contracts, parental rights for disabled students, access to digital learning, and reduced regulation of agricultural lands. The group opposed the internet sales tax, and incentives for various professional sports facilities or complexes.
In addition to tallying votes, the AFP-FL gave additional “credits” to those who sponsored priority bills, using the same methodology to penalize bill sponsors of policies they oppose. Through this, State Sen. Jeff Brandes earned a 104% for his final AFP grade, including five points of credit for his bill sponsorships. This was the most credit granted to any legislator in either chamber. In the House, Ray Wesley Rodrigues earned two credits for bill sponsorship, ending session with the highest grade of 114%. Jeff Clemens was ranked lowest in the Senate with a 37%; and Mark Pafford in the House with 24%. In total, 53 legislators scored an A+, nine received As, 23 Bs, 12 Cs, 8 Ds, and 54 Fs.