ALBANY, NY (WKBW/Release) - Unshackle Upstate, a pro-taxpayer, pro-jobs advocacy organization, today released its 2011-12 legislative scorecards. The scorecards, available at www.unshackleupstate.com/legislative-activity/scorecards/, grade legislators on their legislative and budget votes as well as sponsorships of targeted bills during the 2011 and 2012 legislative sessions.
“As Primary and Election Day draw near, it’s very important for taxpayers to have a comprehensive guide that shows which legislators have truly dedicated themselves to unlocking New York’s economic potential,” said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. “We’re encouraged to see that many legislators have responded to their constituents by supporting two consecutive fiscally responsible state budgets and several pro-taxpayer initiatives such as the 2-percent property tax cap and pension reform.
Accordingly, legislators’ grades have generally improved from our 2010 scorecards. But we still have so much more to do to strengthen New York’s economy.”
The scorecard grades consist of points accumulated or lost based on legislators’ sponsorships and floor votes on bills that Unshackle Upstate either supported or opposed. Votes and sponsorships were divided into four categories and graded with a maximum score of 100:
· Legislative Votes (0 to 60 points of total score) - includes floor votes
· Budget Votes (0 to 25 points of total score) - includes votes on the budget
· Sponsorship of Bills Supported by Unshackle Upstate (0 to 15 points of total score) - includes sponsorship of positive legislation (5 points for each bill sponsored with a maximum of 3 bills)
· Sponsorship of Bills Opposed by Unshackle Upstate (0 to -15 points of total score) includes sponsorship of bad legislation (5 points deducted for each bill sponsored with a maximum of 3 bills)
The organization, which is comprised of business and trade organizations from every Upstate region, is encouraging its supporters to share these scorecards in an effort to educate and empower voters prior to Election Day.
“These scorecards provide a clear picture of which Senators and Assembly members are working to promote job growth and strengthen our economy,” said Sampson. “Our hope is that hard-working taxpayers and employers will see the grades of Assemblyman Schimminger, Senator Grisanti and Senator Maziarz and start a discussion with their network of friends, family and colleagues.”
Prominent Upstate business leaders also encouraged people in their communities to examine the findings of Unshackle Upstate’s 2012 legislative scorecards.
“After two successful legislative sessions, Unshackle Upstate’s legislative scorecard scores indicate that our legislators are paying attention and voting according to the needs of Upstate New York. For that, our legislators should be commended,” said Andrew J. Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership.
“The Partnership is especially proud of the Western New York delegation, with very strong scores across the Senate delegation and perfect scores from both sides of the aisle in the Assembly, no small feat given its downstate control! That being said, there is much that still needs to be done regarding employer regulatory reform and mandate relief, and we look forward to working with the Legislature on addressing those issues in the near future.”
“The results of these scorecards are encouraging as it shows this legislature has been receptive to our call for long-term economic growth,” said Stephen Lefebvre, president of the Empire State Chapter of Associated Builders and Contractors.
“Through the efforts of Unshackle Upstate, we can say with confidence that New York is on the path to being an economic leader again, but we still have a long way to go before we see a robust recovery, and many legislative and regulatory reforms governing the construction sector still need to take place.
The Associated Builders and Contractors look forward to its continued partnership with Unshackle Upstate and working with those legislators who share our common vision for a better New York.”
Over the course of the fall election season, Unshackle Upstate will also use candidate questionnaires and face-to-face interviews to determine its legislative endorsements.
“While we’ve made great strides over the past two years, we must continue to keep the pressure on Albany to do more for New York’s taxpayers and employers,” said Sampson. “As we meet legislative incumbents and challengers, we’ll gauge their support for our key goals and assess which candidates deserve our support.”