The Arizona Free Enterprise Club completed its rankings of how Arizona legislators performed during the 2021 legislative session, and one Senator and six House members scored a perfect 100%. AFEC ranked them based on election integrity, income tax policy, “regulatory relief and ongoing government overreach from the covid-19 pandemic, banning critical race theory in our taxpayer-funded institutions and school choice.”
The seven legislators with a perfect score are State Sen. Warren Petersen (R-Mesa) and State Reps. Jacqueline Parker (R-Mesa), Jake Hoffman (R-Queen Creek), John Fillmore (R-Apache Junction), Joseph Chaplik (R-Scottsdale), Shawnna Bolick (R-Phoenix), and Travis Grantham (R-Gilbert).
AFEC gave certain issues extra emphasis, including votes on special interest tax carveout programs. Club President Scot Mussi stated, “The ability for ‘woke’ corporations to secure major tax carveouts, in some instances zeroing out all tax liability, is a serious threat to a broad-based, low-tax environment for every Arizona family and small business.”
The rankings analyzed more than just legislators’ straight votes on bills. The analysis considered “whether they sponsored particularly bad legislation even if it did not receive a full vote of the body, if they were an obstacle to key caucus or Club issues even if they ultimately voted the ‘right’ way, or if they were responsible for killing key reforms and stalled their advancement to a floor vote.”
Four legislators who did not receive a perfect 100% still received an A+. They are Reps. Beverly Pingerelli (R-Peoria), Bret Roberts (R-Maricopa), Gail Griffin (R-Hereford) and Judy Burges (R-Prescott). Two legislators scored 0%, Jennifer Pawlik (D-Chandler) and Judy Schweibert (D-Phoenix).
Key votes preventing some of the top conservatives in the legislature from obtaining a 100% score were voting yes on SB 1040, a Democrat-sponsored bill which establishes a state earned income tax credit, HB 2053, increasing legislative per diem, HB 2321, creating a tax credit for certain construction, and Democrat-sponsored HB 2820, which establishes licensing for nutritionists and dietitians. SB 1040 is the only one of the four that did not become law.
Hoffman explained how he obtained a perfect score, “The answer to America’s challenges lies with prayer and everyday Americans having the courage to step into the lion’s den as unwavering voices for truth, freedom, and constitutional self-governance.” He said the Arizona Free Enterprise Club is “a refreshing contrast to the parade of lobbyists and special interests who dominate the Capitol.” Parker, who also scored 100%, agreed, “They are very involved at the Capitol and follow all the bills very closely so their ratings are based on our actual voting record instead of friendship or special interests.”
Despite claims that Arizona is “turning purple” due to the 2020 eletion, “the GOP [legislature] managed to enact one of the most conservative agendas in memory,” U.S. News & World Report stated. The legislature passed laws implementing historic tax cuts, banning Critical Race Theory in schools and government, and expanded school choice. They also limited sex education in schools, tightened election laws, curtailed pandemic powers of local governments, and banned medical providers from performing abortions solely because of genetic abnormalities like Down syndrome. This shift may be due in part to the defeat of two Republican legislators known for frequently voting with the Democrats, Senators Kate Brophy McGee (R-Phoenix) and Heather Carter (R-Cave Creek).
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Rachel Alexander is a reporter at the Arizona Sun Times and The Star News Network. Follow Rachel on Twitter. Email tips to [email protected].
Photo “The Arizona Free Enterprise Club” by The Arizona Free Enterprise Club.