73 our of California’s 120 lawmakers get a failing grade

by Troy Anderson, Staff Writer, Contra Costa Times

Dems are a whopping failure in taxpayer group’s report card, but do well in another one

A group representing California taxpayers gave more than half the state’s lawmakers failing grades in its annual report card issued Tuesday, only months after the Legislature approved the largest tax cuts in state history.

The Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association gave "F" grades to 73 out of 120 Assembly members and senators, with only 29 receiving "A" grades.

The ratings from the fiscally conservative group split along ideological lines, with all of the failing grades going to Democrats, and none to Republicans.

"This is a horrible report card," said David Wolfe, legislator director at the association. "It represents all the anger and frustration voters are feeling following the May 19 vote on a package of tax increases. They rejected practically all of those initiatives."

The report card grades lawmakers based on their votes on 35 bills. Of those, 14 bills were double-weighted, including six constitutional amendments that the group felt attacked Propositions 13 and 218. In addition, lawmakers who voted in February for $12.6 billion in new income, sales and vehicle taxes received an automatic 20-point deduction.

The lawmakers voted to increase the statewide sales tax by 1 percent and for a 10 percent increase in state income tax withholding, which will begin later this month.

Among state lawmakers who represent the San Fernando, Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys and surrounding areas, five received an A and nine received an F.

But a local Democrat who received a failing grade said the report card was unfair and failed to give enough credit for votes to protect taxpayer interests.

"A grading system that gives a poor grade to someone like myself, who voted for tax credits to retain film industry jobs, who authored legislation (AB 1196) to help recover billions in taxpayer dollars lost to fraud by government contractors, and who has led the fight to leverage and maximize federal dollars flowing to our state, is clearly flawed," said Assemblyman Bob Blumenfield, D-Van Nuys, who received an F.

State Sen. Tony Strickland, R-Simi Valley, who received an A, said Sacramento needs more legislators who will fight for taxpayers.

"This report card is not surprising because they treat the people of California as their personal ATM machine," Strickland said.

Meanwhile, the Consumer Federation of California also released its scorecard for state lawmakers on Tuesday rating legislators on their votes on key consumer rights bills.

That organization offered nearly opposite assessments from the Jarvis group, giving more Democrats higher ratings for consumer-friendly votes.

The report card found Democrats took the side of consumers nearly 90 percent of the time while Republican only took the side of consumers about 20 percent of the time.