Louisiana State Representative Dodie Horton, R-Haughton, has called the removal of funding from the state’s budget a “boondoggle” following the end of the 2023 legislative session June 8.
Approximately $140 million designated toward building a new Jimmie Davis Bridge connecting Shreveport and Bossier was removed from House Bill 2. Reports have estimated that this decision was as retaliation against some Shreveport-Bossier lawmakers in the House who voted against raising the state’s spending limit.
Shreveport-Bossier House members who voted against the resolution to raise the spending limit included Horton and fellow Republicans Raymond Crews, of Bossier City, and Alan Seabaugh, of Shreveport.
You can read Horton’s statement below:
“Crooked, lying, power-hungry politicians continue to hold Louisiana back, making us last in the South and last across the country in almost every category. It is long past time to change this, and we all know it in our hearts. Our beloved Louisiana is having the life sucked out of it, causing a population drain of our finest young people to other states. And our politicians keep doing the same thing over and over, expecting a different result. We all know what that means: insanity.
The claim is that the Jimmie Davis Bridge funding was removed from the budget because, along with Raymond Crews and Alan Seabaugh, I voted against a measure to bust the budget spending cap that is in our constitution. Our “leadership,” and I use the term leadership loosely, would not tell us how that money would be spent before that vote took place. They refused to tell us how much over the spending limit they intended to spend. How much of your tax dollars would be one-time projects and how much would be recurring expenditures?
They wouldn’t even tell us if they would give the teachers a pay raise, something Republican members overwhelmingly supported. Conservatives previously offered teacher pay raises in two different alternative budget plans we tried to get our leaders to adopt, but it fell on deaf ears. And, of course, leadership didn’t end up giving that pay raise, just a stipend.
We never got any answers to those and many more questions until they gave us the budget five minutes before we had to vote on it. That’s right we only had five minutes to review hundreds of pages containing more than $50 billion of spending. That’s what our leadership thinks of us and of you. You only deserve five minutes for your representatives to try to read hundreds of pages to decide on the future of your children and our state.
All of this is not just about my vote opposing that un-democratic, budget-busting bill they demanded we vote on to find out what’s in it. They were acting like Nancy Pelosi, something no Republican should ever do. I voted against busting the spending cap, but I voted for the budget, because I wanted to avoid a special session, handing the liberals another bite at the apple to spend even more. We had to trust at the last minute that the bill prioritized important infrastructure projects, but we were sold false promises. Senators Robert Mills and Barrow Peacock, who both voted in favor of busting the spending cap, also voted for the budget. In spite of all of that, they couldn’t keep the project in there either. Reps. Glover, Jenkins, Phelps and Pressly all voted to bust the spending cap and also to pass the budget. They are being “punished,” too.
Louisiana has already signed a contract for the Jimmie Davis Bridge that has a start date. I have full confidence the funding will be restored. The Jimmie Davis Bridge defunding fiasco reveals to our constituents just how far these corrupt politicians will go in an attempt to negatively impact my re-election campaign. I have never ceased to support our infrastructure which is reflected in my voting record.
Right now, these crooked politicians are trying to purge the legislature of conservatives who will fight for a better government, a government that gives true value for the expenditure of your tax dollars. This is their fear because they want the gravy train to continue. They’re addicted to spending your money to buy their own power. It’s time to prioritize our tax dollars on critical infrastructure projects like the Jimmie Davis Bridge that have the largest return on investment for our citizens. We can no longer allow the good ole boys system to just continue to spend your money on helping more of their cronies get elected.
I will stand in their way along with the rest of the Louisiana Freedom Caucus. We conservatives will grow our numbers. We are not going away. God willing, we will get a real Republican governor next year, and this state will have a chance to move forward. I need your help! A new day is coming, Louisiana. Vote conservative and join our fight to fix our beloved state.”