WHY RATINGS MATTER!
Why do groups rate legislators? I think a great way to answer that question is with the age old joke “How do you know if a politician is lying?…His lips are moving!” Politicians will tell you what you want to hear to get your vote, and SHOCKINGLY it isn’t always true! So, why are most of the candidates for State Treasurer claiming to be “conservative”? It’s because they know you need to think they’re conservative to get your vote. With ratings from outside groups, it’s a check on politicians truthfulness. Especially here in Colorado, what politicians say they’re doing under the Gold Dome in Denver may not actually be what they’re doing.
The two “conservative” ratings most people look to in Colorado is Principles of Liberty (POL) and the Colorado Union of Taxpayers (CUT). Principles of Liberty was created by the Republican Study Committee of Colorado when Republican Leadership at the time was rejecting literature rating legislation to be distributed to legislators at the Capitol. POL as it’s called has North of 20,000 data points on how it rates legislators, and they rate about 250 bills per year (That’s almost half of the bills introduced per year). POL rates bills on the following principles: Individual Liberty, Personal Responsibility, Property Rights, Free Markets, Limited Government, Fiscal Responsibility, Equal Protection of the Law, and State vs Federal Powers.
Here is a good synopsis of what they do and their scores from 2017. I suggest you read this before you vote:
The Colorado Union of Taxpayers has been rating the legislature since 1976. They focus on the following principles: honoring TABOR, No
New Taxes, Limiting Spending, Returning Tax Surpluses to Taxpayers, Spending Priorities, School Choice, Privatization of Unnecessary Government Functions, Property Rights, No Unauthorized Payroll Deductions for Political Purposes, and Supporting Petition Rights. CUT also has legislators and candidates sign a “Pledge” to this effect (I signed in 2011).