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LANSING, Mich. – The grassroots free-market group Americans for Prosperity-Michigan (AFP-MI) today released its 2017 State Legislative Scorecard at its annual Citizen Day at the Capitol event, which brings around 100 citizens to the capitol to lobby their lawmaker on the issues that matter to them. AFP-MI’s scorecard measures House and Senate lawmakers based on their legislative votes and commitment to free-market, limited government policies that will move the state toward expanded economic freedom. The full AFP-Michigan scorecard is available online at MIScorecard.com.
“Our scorecard will empower citizens to hold their lawmakers accountable to the principles of economic freedom and limited government,” said Pete Lund, AFP-MI state director. “That’s why we’re releasing it at our Day at the Capitol event. We hope citizens will discuss scorecard results with their elected officials and use those conversations to express their appreciation and identify areas for improvement.”
Lund noted the 2017 scorecard was marked by a very strong free-market showing among leaders in the Michigan House of Representatives, coupled with a few major victories and losses attributed to both chambers. Support for reducing unnecessary regulations, curbing local regulatory overreach and overhauling the public education pension system lifted scores. But lawmakers hit a stumbling block with new corporate welfare schemes that benefit certain businesses over others and their inability to get enough votes to pass a personal income tax cut.
“On the whole, Michigan lawmakers did a good job of beating back unnecessary regulations and overhauling the public education pension system to incentivize fully-funded, contribution-based retirement accounts,” said Lund. “Unfortunately, there weren’t enough votes to defeat corporate welfare schemes or to pass a personal income tax cut.”
Of the 37 state senators scored, four achieved an 80 percent or higher needed to receive the group’s “Prosperity Champion” designation. No senator achieved a perfect score, although Senator Patrick Colbeck came the closest, voting with the AFP position 95 percent of the time.
Of the 107 state representatives scored, there were 23 designated “Prosperity Champions” with scores of 80 percent and above. Seven state representatives achieved perfect scores, a distinction achieved by their consistent free-market position even on smaller-scale issues such as opposing subsidies for certain grocery stores in urban areas and voting against an expansion of the number of state “promise zones” funded through tax increment financing.
House lawmakers outperformed their Senate colleagues with a higher average score of 51 percent versus 50 percent and higher median score of 65 percent versus 58 percent. Although prosperity scores on the AFP-Michigan scorecard are issued objectively, without regard to political affiliation, the results do reflect partisan divisions. Averages for Senate Republicans and Democrats were 64 percent and 13 percent respectively. In the State House, averages were 16 percent for Democrats and 76 percent for Republicans, meaning GOP House members outperformed their Republican Senate counterparts by more than 10 percentage points.
AFP-Michigan’s legislative scorecard included 19 roll-call votes in the State Senate and 17 roll-call votes in the Michigan House of Representatives on a range of issues within broader subject areas such as corporate welfare, taxes and spending, regulation, labor and unions, and free speech. Votes were not weighted. Policymakers not in office as of printing due to death, expulsion, or resignation were not included.
“As we work toward securing the framework for a free and open society, this scorecard helps us understand whether we are moving forward or backward,” Lund concluded. “Our freedoms expand or shrink with many of the votes our lawmakers take. We are thankful for those lawmakers who consistently prioritize the fundamental principles of economic freedom.”