A Powerful Tool to Hold Lawmakers Accountable

February 1, 2024
TFR Staff
88th Legislative Session, Accountability, Elections 2024, Fiscal Responsibility Index

As we enter election season, many voters across the State of Texas are looking to find information about candidates and the voting records of their sitting elected officials, in order to make informed decisions at the ballot box. 

Thankfully, Texans for Fiscal Responsibility (TFR) has a solution: The Fiscal Responsibility Index. 

What is the Fiscal Responsibility Index?

The 2023 Fiscal Responsibility Index, TFR’s Legislative Scorecard, is a meticulous compilation of legislative votes and analysis, which empowers Texans to hold their lawmakers accountable. 

At its core, the Index serves as a compass, guiding Texans through the intricate world of legislative decision-making. Legislators are scored on a 0-100 scale, utilizing the A through F grading system as well. 

The Index unveils lawmakers’ stances on crucial issues, ranging from matters of taxation, spending, economic regulation, responsible and transparent government, and personal liberty.  

It equips the public with the knowledge necessary to hold their elected officials accountable at the ballot box and engage in constructive dialogue with their representatives.

In 2023, we published vote recommendations, and sent vote notices to lawmakers and the public, for over 500 votes. 

The Index also delves into the intricate web of committee memberships. This added layer of analysis offers citizens a nuanced perspective on the forces shaping legislative decisions, empowering them to grasp the intricacies of the policymaking process.

A standout feature of the Index is its recognition of Taxpayer Champions and Fiscal Foes. This categorization serves as a clear guide, allowing citizens to identify representatives who consistently advocate for limited government and fiscal responsibility, as well as those whose positions may pose challenges to these principles.

Breaking Down the Index:

First of all, TFR ranked votes in both the Texas House and the Senate. You can see the way your lawmaker voted on every single one of our ranked bills.

For example, Representative Tony Tinderholt (R-Arlington) received a 98/100 on our index this year.

In years prior, Rep. Tinderholt received similar scores, which you can view further along in his profile.

Farther down, you can view some more information about Rep. Tinderholt, such as a brief bio, his committee assignments, where his district is, and how to contact him.

Before viewing his votes, you will see some of his top donors from his Transparency USA profile. This is who Tinderholt has taken money from (contributors) and how he has spent it (payees). 

The first vote that TFR ranked last session was on whether or not lawmakers voted to make Representative Dade Phelan the Speaker of the House, despite his anti-taxpayer agenda. Tinderholt voted against Phelan’s speakership. Tinderholt has a green check mark for this vote, because he took a pro-taxpayer vote.

When lawmakers make anti-taxpayers votes, they get a red “x” by the vote because it was not in the best interest of Texans. 

It is important to note that a checkmark by the vote does not automatically mean that the lawmaker voted for that bill. While that could be the case, a green checkmark simply means that the vote was pro-taxpayer. 

Empowerment lies in informed citizenship. 

The Fiscal Responsibility Index encourages Texans to hold their lawmakers accountable by providing a user-friendly resource. As Texans head to the polls on multiple occasions this year, the Index becomes a powerful tool for accountability. 

By arming citizens with knowledge and the facts of incumbent records, it encourages them to demand transparency, question decisions, and ensure that lawmakers align with the values and fiscal principles that matter most to the people they represent. 

With several important elections coming up this year, be sure to look at our index before heading to the polls!

Texans for Fiscal Responsibility relies on the support of private donors across the Lone Star State in order to promote fiscal responsibility and pro-taxpayer government in Texas. Please consider supporting our efforts! Thank you!

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