With the 86th Legislative Session now complete, it is time for Montgomery County taxpayers to evaluate how their legislators performed on key issues. According to the recently released 2019 Fiscal Responsibility Index, the members of Montgomery County’s legislative delegation scored higher than most of their peers. Only two, however, earned passing grades.
Texans for Fiscal Responsibility’s Index is a helpful tool for citizens to examine their legislators’ voting records on limited government and spending issues and hold them accountable for those votes. This year’s Index was more exhaustive than ever, including 170 votes in the House and 149 votes in the Senate.
Every issue and vote included on the Index, as well as the grading methodology, was publicly noted in advance of votes taken on the floor. The grades range from 0 through 100, with 100 being the most conservative and 0 being the least.
In the House, State Rep. Steve Toth (R–Conroe) had the highest score of the Montgomery County delegation, earning a grade of 83. State Rep. Will Metcalf (R–Montgomery) earned a 64, and State Rep. Cecil Bell (R–Magnolia) earned a 60.
Montgomery County legislators scored higher than the average for both chambers, with the House average being 43 and the Senate average being 59. Montgomery County’s House members earned grades at or above the House Republican average of 60. Creighton scored above the Senate GOP average of 72, while Nichols scored below it.
All Montgomery County legislators scored lower than in previous sessions, however in some cases their ranking among their peers actually moved up, indicating a leftward lurch by the body as a whole. For example, Creighton’s 2019 score of 82 was lower than his 2017 score of 87. However, in 2019 he was the second highest scoring senator, while in 2017 he had the tenth highest score.
Toth’s only previous session was in 2013, where he earned a 91. However, his grade of 83 in 2019 was the 13th highest, while in 2013 he had the 17th-highest score. Bell followed the same trend, while Nichols and Metcalf’s rankings were lower in addition to their actual scores.
Creighton and Toth made scores near the top of the 19 and 83 Republicans in the Senate and House respectively. Metcalf, ranking 27th, was still in the top half of Republicans, while Bell at 36th was near the middle of the GOP caucus. Nichols received the third-lowest score among Senate Republicans.
Overall, Montgomery County’s delegation fared better than their colleagues. However, there is room for improvement in the scores of the legislators representing this deep red suburban county.