In his first State of the State address in 30-plus years —and facing an unprecedented $25-billion budget deficit— California Governor Jerry Brown spent 14 minutes calling for three things: solutions, solutions and solutions. Hinting he had heard none, he offered his.
After giving a background of California’s past glory, dire present, and bright future, Brown admitted no one likes the needed solutions. “Democrats want no budget reductions, and I understand that” he said, “Republicans want no more taxes and I understand that,” yet no one offer alternatives, he complained.
Brown has proposed a budget balancing plan that divides the deficit almost in half between government service cuts and tax renewals, the latter to be decided on a special election to be held next June. Most Republican legislators have signed a no-tax pledge and refuse to back the ballot measure. The governor insisted on leaving it to the will of the people and challenged Republicans by saying “If you want to block the people’s right to vote, stand up and say, ‘Block that punt!’ ”
He asked again and again that, whoever had a better idea, should come forward and share it.
He defended his proposal to rescind cities’ redevelopment programs and the jobs they create arguing that those funds come from local property taxes and that basic services such as education and police are much more important right now.
In the end Brown reaffirmed California is —spite of the times— “the land of the dream” that millions still seek and closed inviting, for a last time, Republicans to join him in finding solutions.
“I agree with the Governor,’ said State Senator Lois Wolk —a Davis, CA democrat who represents San Joaquin County— after the speech, “we Democrats in the State Legislature have to have the discipline to make necessary cuts, and Republicans have to have the courage to put the tax extension measures on the ballot.”
Even Republican Assemblyman Bill Berryhill —who also represents the county— had encouraging words, stating to the LA Times that if the Governor was willing to compromise in regulations that make California unattractive to businesses, he would consider supporting the ballot proposal. Berryhill is one of the few Republican legislators who have not signed the no-tax pledge.
- Jerry Brown urges putting tax extension on ballot – San Francisco Chronicle (news.google.com)
- California’s Brown says voters need voice on budget – Reuters (news.google.com)
- Brown’s Plan for California Call for Cuts, More Taxes (online.wsj.com)
- Governor Jerry Brown Delivers State of the State Address (yubanet.com)
- Brown’s California Plan: Cuts, Taxes – Wall Street Journal (news.google.com)
- Brown urges lawmakers to allow special election (sfgate.com)
- Brown urges lawmakers to allow special election – San Francisco Chronicle (news.google.com)
- Fiscal crisis will hang over Brown’s speech (sfgate.com)
- California Governor Jerry Brown Declares State of Fiscal Emergency (dailyfinance.com)