Democratic Caucus Chairman Gene Reynolds, D-Minden, reacted to the passage of HB1 Monday in the House Appropriations Committee.

The budget bill has passed the first hurdle in the process by a vote of 17-5 along party lines, and now moves to the full House floor.

Reynolds said the current form of HB1 dangerously abdicates that responsibility of the legislature to assign specific programmatic cuts, instead forcing department heads to make those cuts unilaterally.

“It’s like a firing squad. They want to kill vital services to their own people, but blame someone else for firing the gun,” said Reynolds. “It’s irresponsible, dishonest budgeting – a throwback to the Jindal era, only this is Jindal on steroids.”

An amendment to divert $190 million in assistance to flood victims didn’t go over well with Rep. Reynolds, either. “That amendment diverts $190 million from flood victims who need the recovery money now to rebuild their lives, without doing the hard work to prioritize their long term, flood protection needs,” Reynolds said.

“This kind of budget process will force these diversions from one needed program to another needed program. Someone wins and someone loses when both are important,” Reynold said.