FloridaStrong Releases 2017 Economic Opportunity Index

102 Florida Lawmakers Receive Failing Grade 
TALLAHASSEE – Today, independent advocacy organization FloridaStrong released its inaugural Economic Opportunity Index, an evaluation of lawmakers’ work on key economic issues during the 2017 legislative session. FloridaStrong reviewed floor and committee votes, co-sponsorships, and other legislative activity in developing this report. The Index provides a valuable tool to help Floridians hold their state legislators accountable. 
Many politicians in Tallahassee spout endless rhetoric about spending tax dollars wisely, but reality paints a very different picture: a staggering 102 lawmakers failed the economic opportunity test this past legislative session. The Economic Opportunity Index measures each legislator’s ability –or lack thereof– to make smart, strategic investments that will set the state on a strong path forward.
“With more than 100 legislators voting at every turn against widespread economic opportunity, it comes as no surprise that Florida falls near or at the bottom nationally on important economic indicators and was named one of the worst places in the country to raise a family just last year,” FloridaStrong Executive Director Charly Norton said Friday. “From polluted drinking water and lagging per-pupil spending, to the affordable housing crisis, these legislators are failing to advance solutions that would put Florida on stronger economic footing and enhance the quality of life of all Floridians – not just a select few. It’s deeply disturbing that most FL lawmakers choose their corporate campaign donors’ bottom lines over their constituents’.”
Additionally, the Index highlights a number of strong policy proposals that were introduced, but did not advance through the legislative process. These filed bills, including measures to protect consumers’ pocketbooks, conserve our natural resources and increase kids’ access to quality education, help demonstrate a legislator’s governing philosophy and values. In addition to the 56 legislators who passed the economic opportunity test with a score over 60 percent, FloridaStrong selected six notable leaders who championed critical issues during the 2017 session:
Senator Jose Javier Rodriguez (Miami)
Senator Gary Farmer (Fort Lauderdale) 
Senator Perry Thurston, Jr. (Fort Lauderdale)
Representative Janet Cruz (Tampa) 
Representative Loranne Ausley (Tallahassee) 
Representative Carlos Guillermo Smith (Winter Park) 
To view the Economic Opportunity Index and learn more about the scorecard’s methodology and results, please click HERE