ALBANY, NY - Unshackle Upstate today released its legislative scorecards for the 2009-10 session. The scorecards, available at www.unshackleupstate.com/scorecard-new/  comprehensively identify which legislators acted in the best interests of New York's taxpayers and job creators and which ones failed to do so.
"When Unshackle Upstate launched our Judgment Day campaign earlier this year, we promised to develop a comprehensive tool for voters to use when considering which candidates they should support on Nov. 2," said Brian Sampson, executive director of Unshackle Upstate. "Today, we're fulfilling that promise and encouraging all New Yorkers to take a long, hard look at how their legislators voted this year before they step into the voting booth."
The scorecard results consist of points accumulated or lost, as defined by sponsorships and committee and floor votes of all 212 legislators on legislation and budget bills on which Unshackle Upstate has taken a position. Votes and sponsorships were divided into four distinct categories and graded with a maximum score of 100:
· Legislative Votes (0 to 60 points of total score)- includes floor and committee votes
· Budget Votes (0 to 25 points of total score) - includes votes on the budget
· Sponsorship of Bills Supported by Unshackle Upstate (0 to 15 points of total score) - includes sponsorship of positive legislation (5 points for each bill sponsored with a maximum of 3 bills)
· Sponsorship of Bills Opposed by Unshackle Upstate (0 to -15 points of total score) includes sponsorship of bad legislation (5 points deducted for each bill sponsored with a maximum of 3 bills)
"The votes and sponsorships that were used to determine legislators' grades directly impact our Upstate communities," said Sampson. "We want taxpayers to make their own determinations as to what constitutes a passing grade. But frankly, a large number of legislators - both Republicans and Democrats - should be embarrassed by their score."
Business leaders from several Upstate regions also encouraged people in their communities to examine the findings of Unshackle Upstate's legislative scorecards.
"To get New York state headed in the right direction, onto to a path of fiscal responsibility that promotes economic stability and job creation, we must hold our elected officials accountable," said Sandy Parker, president and CEO of the Rochester Business Alliance. "This scorecard is one tool that taxpayers can use to determine which legislators have acted in the best interests of New York's future and deserve their vote and which legislators should be looking for a new line of work. We're encouraging citizens to get informed on their legislators' actions on these critical economic issues so they can make the best choices in the voting booth on Nov. 2."
"It's campaign season, and the airwaves and taxpayer mailboxes are full of state politicians' claims of support for job growth, lower taxes and economic development - but their reality has been very different from their rhetoric," said Andrew J. Rudnick, president and CEO of the Buffalo Niagara Partnership. "Voters are more frustrated than ever, and know legislators' actions speak louder than what they print on a glossy postcard. Unshackle Upstate is providing tools like the scorecard to help educate voters about what their supposed representatives are and are not doing for Upstate, so they can vote accordingly on Judgment Day."
"These scores provide a meaningful look at how all of our incumbent state legislators are performing, and helps to identify those who support economic growth versus those who are supporting our economic decline," said Garry Douglas, president and CEO of the Plattsburgh-North Country Chamber of Commerce. "It's a chance to recognize the positive performance of some like Sen. Betty Little, one of the most dependable backers of reform and job creation in the Senate, while also highlighting too many other incumbents across the state who should be getting some very tough questions this fall from the taxpayers."
"Let's face it, New Yorkers are being taxed right out of the state.The scorecard isone of many tools that voters can use to identify iftheirrepresentatives are working to add more costs or reduce them,"said Lou Santoni, president and CEO of the Greater Binghamton Chamber of Commerce.
In addition to providing this informative tool to New York's taxpayers, Unshackle Upstate will use its 2010 legislative scorecards as just one of many tools when considering which candidates to endorse in the upcoming elections.
"During the upcoming campaign season, legislative incumbents will tour their districts and tell their constituents that their voting record demonstrates how committed they are to serving their communities. These scorecards will unquestionably take the guesswork out of determining whether legislators are being truthful with voters," said Sampson. "Educated voters are our best weapon to stop the dysfunction in Albany and get our state back on the right track. To achieve that goal, Unshackle Upstate will continue to do everything in its power to educate the public as to which candidates deserve their vote on Judgment Day."
- 30 -