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New party can't mask old liberal/populist Montgomery

State Rep. Billy Montgomery switched his partisan affiliation Monday to Republican. Term-limited in his House seat, Montgomery has eyes on the Senate District 37 seat held by also term-limited Republican Max Malone. Malone has perhaps the most conservative voting record in the Senate, matching that this perhaps is the most conservative Senate district in Louisiana, and as an election ploy Montgomery, whose views are no different today than last week, is trying to discourage GOP competition for the seat. (At the same time he changed his registration, he also changed his tax records to reflect a residence in the district.)

It won’t work, principally because of a voting record favoring tax-and-spend priorities and wasteful government as usual that Montgomery has racked up in his almost two decades in Baton Rouge. Here’s a list of his 10 most liberal/populist votes from just the past couple of years:

2005 Regular Session
HB 763 – voted for higher gasoline prices by mandating a government-determined artificial floor to be placed on its price
HB 887 – voted for a “sick tax” of 1.5 percent that would be passed along in many cases to health care consumers
HB 1 (vote on Tucker amendment) – voted against raising teachers’ salaries without raising taxes

2005 First Extraordinary Session
SB 44 – voted against construction standards that would increase building safety

2006 First Extraordinary Session
SB 22 – voted for the wasteful satellite voting centers which cost Louisiana taxpayers about $375 a voter (nearly 40 times the normal cost per voter) when the perfectly good, far cheaper, and as effective early voting system by mail was an option

2006 Regular Session
HB 194 – voted for raising the minimum wage for state employees which would waste taxpayer dollars by overpaying even more than ever instead of wages being determined by market conditions
HB 685 – voted for mandating the sale of ethanol in gasoline regardless of whether it was higher priced
HB 1028 – voted for creating preferential availability to taxpayer-backed insurance for state legislators (which caused such a hue and cry that it later was vetoed)
HB 1129 – voted for enabling more money to be easily spent on wasteful, dubious “economic development” projects, in this instance Poverty Point Reservoir
HB 1281 – voted for subsidizing with taxpayer dollars a private golf course

Note that this doesn’t include his committee votes which perhaps even more display a liberal/populist record. Stretching the time frame back a number of years turns up plenty of similar such votes. By contrast, District 37 encompasses House District 8, represented by conservative Republican Mike Powell; on these 10 votes over the past two years, Powell voted the opposite of Montgomery on nine of them.

It’s not that Montgomery is an irredeemable liberal and populist; for example, he did sponsor HB 645 this past session which would have reduced cable television rates (although even though he is one of the longest-serving members he lacked the political clout to prevent a veto of it). It’s just that District 37 Republicans and conservatives who make up the district’s majority are unlikely to accept the less-than-half a loaf with which Montgomery presents them ideologically. There is little doubt that Caddo-Bossier Republican activists will do their best to search for and support a genuine conservative, probably of long standing in the party. If Montgomery thought a switch now would discourage this, he’s probably wrong.


Anonymous said...

I believe its time for a serious discussion on whether the voters of District 37 and the State Republican party is as weak in the mind as Montgomery beleives they are. Legislators that get accepted into the Republican party without a record and produce a records full of supporting more tax and more government is one thing. They should be thrown out. This speaks for the ethics of the party.

But, as has been pointed out here Montgomery can not hide his record and the only way he can win is to prevent having any opposition. Any other affiliated party, even Demo's should be welcomed and have a chance in District 37 against the record of Montgomery.

Anonymous said...

If we are going to start throwing out those Republicans that support more taxes and more government, than the majority in Congress should be gone as well. I did not realize there is a test as to who can qualify for registering as a Republican. If we ever hope to become a majority party, perhaps we should welcome anyone who wishes to be part of our group. If not, we will always be in the minority.

Jeff Sadow said...

In other words, you believe that a majority in this state supports higher taxes and greater government spending? I don't, not for a minute.

Again, if there is a candidate out there who articulates smaller government and no tax increases, and even tax cuts in this overtaxed state, what need is there for Republicans to vote for Montgomery? Why accept less than half a loaf when you can have the whole loaf?

Unknown said...

Unfoturnately, only 20% of the voters will even show up for Montgomery's run, and most of them will vote for the "R" next to him name rather than looking at his record. Then again, bloggers who post those voting records are now being targeted by the State "Ethics" Board.