The House GOP budget chairman in the 2012 Legislature was the lowest scoring Republican among the 58-member majority caucus in the Utah Taxpayers Association rating on important tax votes.
Rep. Mel Brown, R-Kamas, a veteran of the Utah House and a former speaker, came in at only a 50 percent rating by the UTA, a business-backed group whose goal is lower taxes at the state and local government levels.
In the 75-member House, only two Democrats had lower ratings – House Minority Leader David Litvack, D-Salt Lake, and Rep. Joel Briscoe, D-Salt Lake.
You can read the new UTA rankings here.
Now, admits the UTA rankers, Brown did miss six of the 14 bill votes the association used to rank lawmakers in this year’s 45-day general session.
So Brown missed out on votes on bills that could have ranked him higher – assuming he would have voted the way the UTA says was “correct.”
But Brown also represents one of the most liberal cities in Utah – Park City. And he traditionally has rather close elections in his district.
Four GOP representatives – Brad Galvez, R-West Haven; Craig Frank, R-Pleasant Grove; John Mathes, R-Vernal; and Mike Morley, R-Spanish Fork – got 100 percent ratings by UTA.
Two state senators also got 100 percent ratings, Sen. Howard Stephenson, R-Draper, (surprise, surprise, Stephenson is also president of the Utah Taxpayers Association) and Senate President Michael Waddoups, R-Taylorsville.
Waddoups missed two of the UTA votes, but missed votes are not counted against a legislator. Stephens voted on all 12 bill votes the UTA used in its rankings.
Sen. Kevin Van Tassell, R-Vernal, was the lowest ranking Republican in the Senate, according to the UTA. Van Tassell, a banker, got a 67 percent rating. Van Tassell, like Brown, missed six of the 12 votes the UTA counted in the Senate votes.
(Some of the House bills counted in the UTA ranking didn’t make it to Senate floor votes, and vice versa – that’s why there were 14 votes counted in the House and only 12 in the Senate.)