Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Who's a spender, who's a tightwad?

The Arizona Federation of Taxpayers rates state legislators on their support for bigger government or the taxpayer. Three candidates have available records. Unfortunately, the AFT appears to have changed their system of reporting after 2004 making comparisons somewhat challenging, but here is the data from their last years in office with 2004 providing data for all three candidates:


--------------2004-----------------2005---------------------------------2006

Giffords--10/41 (4 no vote)---31% Big Government Friend-----N/A

Graf------25/41 (0 no vote)---N/A-----------------------------------N/A

Huffman-11/41 (9 no vote)--55% Needs Improvement----------55% Needs Impr.

In 2005, Gabby earned a 31% and just eaked over the threshold to avoid the "Champion of Big Government" label. Steve Huffman's 55% put him right in the middle of "Needs Improvement," a step above Gabby.

In 2004, Giffords voted just 10 times with the AFT out of 41. Randy Graf voted 25 times with the AFT and received the Friend of the Taxpayer designation with only 8 House members receiving higher scores. Huffman voted 11 times with the AFT out of 41. Only 9 House members scored lower than Huffman (his 9 missed votes were a factor) and only 3 Senate members scored lower than Giffords.

Giffords has never claimed to be a conservative, nor has she sought favor with the AFT. These numbers will probably be fairly innocuous to her campaign in the primary. Graf has not been shy in his campaign about his "Taxpayer Friend" designation and will likely continue to tout it. Huffman's recent campaign ad, however, claims he is a conservative, and his web site states that he has "a strong record of fighting to reduce taxes." He will likely rely on his success reducing business property taxes to support his position. Of course, Graf will continue to exploit Huffman's shutting down a personal property tax relief bill (insiders say he "shelved" it in his desk drawer to keep it out of committee) and Huffman's statement to the Chamber that "personal property taxes are too low."

Personal property taxes are obviously not at issue in this race, but two related issues, out-of-control government spending and taxation, are. That said, it is unclear why the National Association of Realtors (NAR) and the Tucson Association of Realtors (TAR) endorsed Huffman in this election.

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