Idaho Freedom Index

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The Idaho Freedom Foundation, an Idaho-based, nonprofit educational research institute, released its Idaho Freedom Index in 2013, a review of legislation impacting economic freedom in the state. The Foundation assigns scores and ratings to state legislators on whether their votes supported free markets or bigger government. For the first time, lawmakers could get an independent, free market view of legislation pending before the Legislature. The Index evaluates lawmakers based on two tiers: Whether legislation creates or eliminates government agencies, programs, and regulations, and whether legislation impacts the free market in a positive or negative way.[1]

2013 report

The 2013 report covered the voting records of state legislators and legislation that answered one or more of the Foundation's criteria questions. The report examined legislation for free market principles, constitutionality, regulatory growth and other metrics. A numeric value was then assigned to each bill impacting on economic freedom and growth of government. These numeric values were tallied for each legislator's House or Senate floor votes to see whether that legislator supported or opposed economic freedom. The Senate members had 74 bills impact their Freedom Index score, with a total of 194 possible points. The House members had 75 bills impact their Freedom index score, with a total of 180 possible points. A higher score denotes a legislator was deemed more favorable to the organization's values.

The top-10 members of the state House considered most supportive of the Foundation's values were:

The bottom-10 members of the state House considered least supportive of the Foundation's values were:

The top-10 members of the state Senate considered most supportive of the Foundation's values were:

The bottom-10 members of the state Senate considered least supportive of the Foundation's values were:

2013 Idaho House Scorecard

2013 Idaho Senate Scorecard

Methodology

The Foundation evaluates legislation and legislators based on a two-tier criteria:[2]

Tier 1

This category includes bills that create or eliminate government agencies, programs, or functions, and whether legislation is hostile to constitutional principles. Several questions considered by the Foundation in its evaluation included:

  • Agency/Program: 1) Does it create or eliminate an agency, program or function of government?
  • Free markets: 2) Does it give the government new power to prohibit or restrict activities in the free market? Examples may include licensure and other restrictions on legal business practices.
  • Constitutional principles: 3) Is it unconstitutional or does it do violence to our concepts of federalism or separation of powers? Does it restrict property, speech, gun or other constitutionally recognized rights or freedoms? Conversely, does it restore balance between the state and federal government, resume state authority over an issue under the 10th Amendment, or remove restrictions on constitutionally protected rights?

Tier 2

This category evaluates legislation that interacts with the free market, either positively or negatively, and whether such legislation expands or contracts existing government functions (without creating new ones).

  • Wealth redistribution/Special perks: 1) Does it redistribute wealth, or use tax policy or other incentives to reward specific interest groups, including politicians or government employees, with special favors or perks? Conversely, does it eliminate special favors and perks in the tax code or public policy?
  • Private sector function: 2) Does it perform a function that can and should be performed by the private sector, or does it restore functions to the private sector?
  • Regulatory scope: 3) Does it grow or shrink the regulatory scope of an agency, increase or decrease control of the private sector through rules, regulation or statute?
  • Fees, taxes, and assessments: 4) Does it directly or indirectly create/reduce taxes, fees or other assessments?
  • Long-term debt: 5) Does it increase or decrease long-term debt, or override or restore statutory or constitutional protections against long-term debt?
  • Government transparency: 6) Does it restrict access to information that should be in the public domain or does it promote government transparency?

External links

See also

References