In his eighth state of the state address and first since returning to the office of governor, Jerry Brown advocated for the budget reforms, spending cuts, and tax extensions he introduced just after taking office.
“I’ve come here not to embrace delay or denial, but to get the job done,” using everyone’s best thinking, he said. “It is time for a legislative check-in with the people of California.”
Brown also renewed his call for all members of the legislature to put party aside and work together to bring the state out of its deep fiscal hole, and he invited voters to engage with the process.
“If you are a Democrat who doesn’t want to make budget reductions in programs you fought for and deeply believe in, I understand that,” the Governor said. “If you are a Republican who has taken a stand against taxes, I understand where you are coming from. But things are different this time. In fact, the people are telling us–in their own way–that they sense that something is profoundly wrong. They see that their leaders are divided when they should be decisive and acting with clear purpose.”
CA Fwd leadership council member Bill Hauck said Californians agree that ignoring the core issues and putting off government reform are no longer an option, and he believes Californians are ready to get involved and help work for a solution, because the crisis in California so greatly affects their own lives.
“The governor appealed… to the need for all of us to think about the greater good, rather than our own specific interests,” Hauck said. “The voters and citizens of California are willing to do whatever it takes to assist the governor and the legislature in this effort. They certainly want the governor and legislature to work together on these solutions.”
In his state of the state address, Brown also touched on the need for pension reform, toeing the line by saying, “we want to reform public pensions to ensure they are fair to both taxpayers and workers alike.”
In addition, he vowed to stimulate job growth, saying, “we must strip away any unreasonable burdens and regulations that stand in the way of job creation.”
In the official Republican response, Assembly Republican Leader Connie Conway of Tulare spoke out against extending the 2009 tax increases, but stressed the need for maintaining funding for public schools, parks, roads, and public safety.
“Republicans stand united as the only line of defense for California taxpayers,” Conway said.
She focused primarily on improving the climate for business.
“We believe the best solution to help close our deficit is not by raising taxes, but by creating private sector jobs. That is done by lifting regulations and by reducing frivolous lawsuits,” she said. “For far too long, the Legislature has strangled our economy by imposing mandates, regulations and taxes. It’s no wonder that companies have been leaving California for other states.”
People across California will debate Brown’s proposals for weeks, and we hope they engage in the process.
The governor wants the voters to decide. What do you think? Please comment here.