by Joe Stewart, NC Free, October 2, 2013.
today its 2013 Legislative Business Ratings, an analysis conducted following each ‘long’ session
of the NC General Assembly on the voting record and general disposition on business issues of
every member of the legislature.
The report utilizes responses from a confidential survey conducted following the 2013 Session
among more than 400 business leaders and government affairs professionals representing a multitude of business interests all across North Carolina. Respondents were asked to provide an Objective Evaluation consisting of legislation voted on during the 2013 Session that ‘presented a clear philosophical division on key issues of interest and concern to the business community.’ They were also asked to offer a Subjective Evaluation consisting of a candid assessment of each legislator (those they knew well enough to assess) ‘as to the percentage of the time that legislator was supportive on issues important to the overall business climate of North Carolina.’
The Research Committee of the NCFEF Board selected from among survey responses the ten legislative votes in both the House and Senate that represented an appropriately diverse array of issues meaningful to the business community, which included free enterprise matters, and where a clear distinction of perspectives on business issues was present. The Objective ratings were obtained by matching legislative voting records obtained from the NC General Assembly website with the preferred business position for each vote. Those ratings were factored in with the average from the Subjective ratings to form an overall Business Rating for each legislator.
Highlights from today’s release:
The average rating for the 2013 Session of the General Assembly:
In both the Senate and House, the average Business Rating among Republicans in leadership
positions was greater than the average of their caucus, while the average Business Rating
among Democrats in leadership positions was less than the average of their caucus:
In both the Senate and House, the average Business Rating among legislators of both parties
for whom the 2013 Session was either their first or second term in the General Assembly
were higher that there more-tenured colleagues
In the Senate:
o Highest rating overall: Sen. Harry Brown (R-Onslow) with a rating of 95.78.
o Highest rating for a freshman, Sen. Jeff Tarte (R-Mecklenburg) with a rating of 85.37.
o Highest ratings among Democrats: Sen. Michael Walters (D-Robeson) with a rating of 81.88,
Sen. Gene McLaurin (D-Richmond) with a rating of 80.28, and Sen. Clark Jenkins (DEdgecombe)
with a rating of 72.35.
In the House:
o Highest rating overall: Rep. David Lewis (R-Harnett) with a rating of 96.34.
o Highest rating for a freshman: Rep. Dean Arp (R-Union) with a rating of 91.11.
o Highest ratings among Democrats: Rep. William Brisson (D-Bladen) with a rating of 82.73
and Rep. Ken Goodman (D-Richmond) with a rating of 72.67.
Matt Bales, NCFEF Research Director, said, “Without a doubt, these ratings show that the 2013
Session was positive for free enterprise principles and the overall business climate of North Carolina. Overall, 70% of the Senate and 64% of the House members are rated at 70 or above, revealing a strong majority of business-minded legislators in both chambers. However, interparty tensions that arose during the legislative session had a negative impact on the promised laser-like focus on business issues and played a role in survey respondents’ ratings of legislators.”
Joe Stewart, NCFEF Executive Director, said, “Because NCFEF has no legislative agenda and doesn’t lobby for or against specific legislation, the 2013 Legislative Business Ratings represent a truly objective nonpartisan analysis of legislators based on insights from a broad base of individuals within the business community most familiar with the recent legislative session. This methodology has proven over time to best serve NCFEF’s mission to provide impartial, objective analysis useful to the business leaders and the public on the intersection of politics and public policy that impacts North Carolina’s economic vitality.”
The North Carolina FreeEnterprise Foundation is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that provides innovative educational programs, non-partisan political research, and objective analysis to foster informed civic involvement, develop an understanding of the free enterprise economy, and strengthen North Carolina’s prosperous business environment.