Project Vote Smart: A Treasure Trove of Candidate Information

As readers of this site are undoubtedly aware, the Rio Grande Foundation is one of New Mexico’s leading voices on behalf of tax reform and reducing the burden of taxation on New Mexico citizens and businesses. While the Foundation does not involve itself in political campaigns, one useful tool in analyzing where candidates stand on taxes and a wide variety of other issues is the Project Vote Smart website.
Project Vote Smart surveys all candidates and publishes the information online in order to give voters the knowledge needed when they go to vote. Information on races taking place in New Mexico can be found here (find the candidate you want and click on the Issue Positions/Political Courage Test button).
Because few incumbents actually fill out the survey, direct comparisons between candidates can be difficult. The primary battle between challenger Dennis Kintigh and incumbent Dan Foley in the 57th House district is one interesting example. While making it clear that he favors limited government, Kintigh’s survey indicates that he’d like to slightly decrease corporate and personal income taxes (with other taxes remaining the same) and “slightly increase” K-12 education spending. Why would a supposedly conservative Republican state publicly that they don’t see any problems with current property and sales (actually gross receipts) tax rates? After all, the Rio Grande Foundation has called the gross receipts tax “New Mexico’s most economically-harmful tax.” Likewise, why would he increase spending on a K-12 system that is clearly broken (for example, the Quality Counts 2007 study by Education Week ranked the state 51st in the nation for giving children a chance at success)?
Kintigh’s opponent, incumbent Representative Foley, while he didn’t fill out his survey, has certainly been a leader in reducing New Mexico’s onerous tax burden. He’s also consistently worked to reduce out-of-control spending like the 11 percent increase of two years ago.
These surveys are a rich source of information. If candidates in your area have not filled theirs out, contact them and ask that they do so.