Nevada Policy Research Institute's Legislative Session Review & Report Card
The Institute describes itself as "a free-market think tank that seeks private solutions to public challenges facing Nevada, the West and the nation. The Institute's primary areas of focus are education and fiscal policy, with the goal of advancing free-market principles in both."
The Nevada Policy Research Institute released its 2011 Nevada Legislative Session Review & Report Card on June 28, 2011. The report card analyzed the 63 total legislative members on 78 votes for the Nevada State Senate and 67 for the Nevada Assembly. The votes were organized into the following categories: Transparency, Cost Savings, Excess Spending, Taxes, Subsidies, Regulation, Education Reform, Property Rights and Dillon's Rule. Average scores were 59 percent in the Arizona State Senate and 56 percent in the Arizona House of Representatives. Senate Republicans had the highest scores with an average score of 72.46%, followed by Assembly Republicans (64.43%), Senate Democrats (32.70%), and Assembly Democrats (31.58%).
In addition to the rankings, the report provides a textual review of the 76th legislative session. It focuses on the events leading up to a budgetary deal reached between the Democratically-controlled Senate and Assembly and the Republican Governor, Brian Sandoval. The compromise measure increased tax revenue and contained reforms to education, collective bargaining and other labor issues.
The Nevada Policy Research Institute states that its grading system "is an adapted version of that used by the National Taxpayers Union to grade Congress." Like the NTU rankings, bills determined by the Institute to be of greater significance are weighted accordingly. Each is assigned a weight of 1 through 100, which the lawmaker earns by voting yes or no for the bill depending on the context. All scores are expressed as a percentage of the maximum possible number of points. No congressman has ever received a perfect score. According to the Institute, "a legislator with a score above 50 is considered to be an ally of economic liberty." The bills chosen are those that are determined to impact Nevada tax rates, "either directly or indirectly as the result of spending beyond available revenues," as well as "bills that would create hidden taxes through costly regulation and bills that provide targeted tax subsidies to politically favored recipients." Lawmakers can also gain points by voting for bills that improve education through structural reform, increase government transparency and protect property rights. The votes in 2011 were organized into the following categories: Transparency, Cost Savings, Excess Spending, Taxes, Subsidies, Regulation, Education Reform, Property Rights and Dillon's Rule.