Only three of New York’s 210 state legislators received a grade of A on a new “Vote for Jobs Index” developed by The Business Council of New York State.
Sixty-three legislators earned a B; 132 received a C; and 12 earned a D. No legislator received a grade of F.
Legislators’ grades reflect their actions or inaction on bills addressing legislative priorities identified by the council earlier in the year. All legislators’ grades and voting records on the priority bills, along with an explanation of how the Vote for Jobs Index works, are posted on the group’s Web site. The index also is being distributed through the council’s grassroots network.
The Vote for Jobs Index is based on bills in five priority areas: taxes, energy, environment, economic development, and employee benefits. Legislators’ scores ranged from a high of +19 to a low of -8 on a scale from a high of +21 (which could be earned with a favorable vote on all bills) and a low of -21. That range was divided into fifths, each of which was the basis for a letter grade:
- A (for scores of +21 to +13)
- B (scores of +12 to +4)
- C (scores of +3 to -5)
- D (scores of -6 to -14)
- F (scores of -15 to -21)
Legislators earned points for votes consistent with, and lost points for votes at odds with, the council’s position. Additional points could be awarded to (or taken away from) legislators who sponsored and championed bills of interest to the council. A legislator who had no record on a priority issue received a “0” on that issue. The 0 rating was meant to address the fact that many priority issues are never considered because relevant bills are not allowed to the floor for a vote.
The three grades of A went to Sen. James Wright (R-Watertown), Senate Majority Leader Joseph Bruno (R-Rensselaer County), and Sen. Raymond Meier (R-Utica).
Assembly scores tended to be lower than Senate members’ scores because many priority bills never made it to the floor of the Assembly, and the members therefore could not earn (or lose) points by voting on them. In addition, more bills the council judged anti-business were taken up by the Assembly.
The council’s board of directors recently voted to produce and publish information on legislators’ achievements or failures on measures to improve New York’s business climate. The initiative, the first of its kind by the council, was developed in response to the council’s 2003 survey of members.
Matthew Maguire ([email protected]) is director of communications for The Business Council of New York State, Inc.
For more information …
The Business Council of New York State’s Vote for Jobs Index is available online at http://www.voteforjobsnewyork.com.
The complete list of grades earned by New York legislators on the Vote for Jobs Index is available at http://www.voteforjobsnewyork.com/reportcard/index.cfm.