Pictured is United States Congressman for Louisiana’s 4th Congressional District, Mike Johnson (right), and Ainsley Holyfield (left) - Johnson’s communications director - during a recent visit they made to the Ville Platte Gazette office. During the visit, Johnson sat down with local media to hear the needs of the people he represents in District 4, as well as shed light on things happening in the nation’s capital city of Washington D.C. (Gazette photo by Ali Moras)
Congressman Johnson shares updates from D.C.
United States Congressman Mike Johnson recently visited local media to share an update on what’s happening in Washington D.C. During his stop at the Ville Platte Gazette office last Wednesday, the freshman congressman and former La. State Representative also gave his thoughts on the La. legislative session currently taking place.
In regard to D.C., Congressman Johnson touched on the nation’s growing economy, flooding and roads.
Johnson said, “We are delighted with the way that the economy is going. The Tax Cuts and Jobs Act have spurred job growth and economic activity.”
The congressman also attributed this growth to regulatory reforms that he called “historic.”
“When President Donald Trump ran for office, he said, ‘We are not going to allow any new regulations unless two older federal regs are repealed,’” said Johnson. “Right now the ratio is 22 to one. We are repealing 22 old regulations for every new federal regulation that is enacted, and that is a remarkable thing.”
According to Johnson, while businesses and corporations are “grateful” for the tax cuts and tax reforms that have taken place, businesses and corporations are even more “grateful” for repealing regulations.
Johnson said, “Repealing regulations has been the key. That’s why we are thriving again and expanding and doing all of these things because there is less red tape.”
The congressman also spent time addressing the major flooding issues that have been experienced over the last two years in Louisiana.
Johnson said, “Part of the problem is that the riverbeds have been raised in part because of sedimentation settling. They realized that when the Red River flooded in 2016. They were using flood estimates and riverbed heights that date back to when I was a senior in high school. It had not been updated in like 30 years. They realized the riverbed was a foot and a half higher than what they were estimating.”
This issue, according to Johnson, is being worked on, as he stated that “now, the army corps and others are working on remapping the riverbed.”
Johnson went on to say, “This is the need we have all over the state. We have to update our models and then we will have more accurate data to base all of this on.
“It is not in our imagination. There is more flooding, but it’s not because of climate change. It is because the riverbeds have changed.”
The congressman also spent time discussing infrastructure and why Louisiana is leaving federal money for roads in D.C.
“In 2016, just for example, only six states in the country raised taxes. I think the number was $2.4 billion in new revenue raised nation wide in the year 2016,” said Johnson. “Louisiana was attributed $1.6 billion of the $2.4 billion raised in the entire country. The second place state was South Dakota, which raised $700,000 in that year.”
Johnson then continued, “Meanwhile everybody around us is decreasing taxes because they want to attract new businesses to get their economy going. So, we are not only going in the wrong direction, but we are going in turbo mode in the wrong direction.”
The effects of this, according to the congressman, has resulted in Louisiana being the “only state losing population in the south.”
Johnson then went further to say that “our tax policy in Louisiana is upside-down.” One consequence for that, Johnson said, is “our ability or inability to present matching funds for infrastructure dollars.”
Johnson’s solution to this problem would be to change the leadership in Louisiana.
“We have to get our house in order. We do not have the luxury of failure,” said Johnson. “We have to turn this ship around, and there are some ways to do that. However, I am concerned that the governor does not see it that way. The governor is one of my good friends. I have known John Bel (Edwards) nearly my whole adult life, but we see things very differently.”
The congressman then continued, “I believe God gave America a second chance with the presidential election last year, and I believe Louisiana has the same equivalency as that in the governor’s race next year. I believe that if John Bel gets elected again and continues these policies, we are going to be so far down the list that we might not be able to recover our state’s economy. We need new leadership, and what the new leadership needs to do is change the way we do state government. We are still doing Huey P. Long era big government centralized hub of power, send all the revenue to Baton Rouge and let them dole it out. That does not work. We need to break it down and do what they do in Texas where they push all the power down to the local governments at the county and municipality level. That’s how you’ll have accountability for your tax dollars.”