A taxpayer-watchdog group released its annual report card for state legislators Monday–no sliding scales allowed–doling out seven A+’s and numerous failing grades. Of the seven perfect scores, five of the lawmakers had previously taken the the group’s pledge to “oppose any new net tax increases.”
The Colorado Union of Taxpayers, or CUT, formed in 1976, has been issuing its annual scorecard for years, rating legislators on the degree to which they are “taxpayer friendly” based on criteria developed by CUT to measure whether a legislator favors lower taxes and less government. Given the slate issues perennially touted by CUT, its ranking typically favor Republicans and are waved off by many Democrats.
This year’s rankings were determined by examining up-or-down votes by lawmakers on 25 key bills offered during the 2010 legislative session that were chosen by CUT, including what had been labeled the “dirty dozen” by minority Republicans–a package of budget-balancing measures that eliminated or suspended certain tax exemptions or credits for businesses.
Leading the pack of those who found favor with the group’s criteria once again were Republican lawmakers; Sens. Bill Cadman, of Colorado Springs, Keith King, also of Colorado Springs, Senate Minority leader Mike Kopp, of Littleton, Scott Renfroe, of Greeley, Mark Scheffel, of Parker, and Dave Schultheis, of Colorado Springs, along with Colorado Springs Rep. Kent Lambert in the House–all of whom earned perfect scores of 100 percent.
Rep.Wes McKinley, D-Walsh, with a score of 50 percent, was the top-ranked Democrat in the CUT standings, followed by Rep. Kathleen Curry, the only unaffiliated member of the legislature, who received a score of 28 percent.
Democratic JBC chair Jack Pommer of Boulder earned the distinction of coming in dead last with a score of 4.00, slightly edging out Rep. Max Tyler, D-Golden, for the bottom spot.
Tyler. who earned a 4.17 percent rating from CUT, said he is unconcerned by the failing grade from the group and will continue to vote for what he says is the best interests of his constituents.
“This is a free country, they can do that,” Tyler said. “I believe that my job is to represent the people in my district and I am in constant contact with them, I hear from them a lot, I talk to them a lot, and I think I represent my district quite well.”