(January 18, 2021; Reprinted From Idaho Freedom Foundation Article Dated 1/12/2021)
The 2021 legislative session is about to begin, and I’d like to share a resource that helps make sure you—as a taxpayer and Idahoan—are informed and educated about what really happens at the Idaho Statehouse.
This resource is called the Idaho Freedom Index, which you can find at IdahoFreedomIndex.com.
Since 2012, Idaho Freedom Foundation analysts have reviewed and scored hundreds of bills based on 12 unchanging metrics. The Freedom Index measures whether a bill expands or shrinks government power. We ask questions like “Does a bill create, expand, or enlarge any agency, board, program, function, or activity of government?” and “Does a bill directly or indirectly create or increase any taxes, fees, or other assessments?”
The Idaho Freedom Index offers a taxpayer’s point of view on potential new laws, which often differs wildly from the goals of lobbyists and special interests. They seek to game the system and get more money and power, all at your expense.
Taxpayers, those hard working folks who pay for government, deserve Statehouse representation and small government.
So how does the Freedom Index actually work?
First, an analyst decides which bills are consequential. Minor bills that change little in law likely won’t receive a full review from an IFF staffer.
Bills of consequence receive thorough vetting by the analyst. Each bill receives a numbered score based on how it affects government power and individual liberty. For example, a bill to raise taxes would receive a negative score, while a bill to reduce red tape would garner a positive mark.
Then, we share the ratings with you so you can understand legislation and how it might affect your life, your family, and your career or business.
Throughout the session, IFF tallies up the scores to show how lawmakers are voting. Those with high scores vote for limited government and personal freedom. Those with lower tallies support bigger, more expensive government. At the end of the session, we double-check the scores and issue each lawmaker a letter grade that corresponds to the percentage shown on the Idaho Freedom Index page.
I love the Freedom Index because it cuts through legislators’ rhetoric and gets to the truth of their actions: Did a lawmaker vote to expand or shrink government, to cut or raise taxes? Legislators receive a score based how they’ve voted on all bills reviewed by IFF. The scores tell an accurate story about each lawmaker’s voting habits.
Idaho Freedom Index analysts do not engage in partisan politics. The analysts rate each piece of legislation based on the 12 metrics, regardless of a sponsor’s political affiliation.
Once issued, Idaho Freedom Index bill ratings rarely change. Typically, IFF analysts will alter ratings only if lawmakers amend legislation. At that point, the changes are noted for full transparency.
Though IFF happily works with all legislators to improve legislation and ensure freedom is maximized, IFF analysts never have decided a rating, nor ever will decide a rating, at a lawmaker’s request.
Analysts score a bill based on the Idaho Freedom Index’s 12 metrics and nothing else.
If you ever have questions about specific legislation or a Freedom Index rating, please reach out. Or, if you want to better understand your lawmakers’ scores, feel free to contact us via email. The best email address is Media@IdahoFreedom.org.