Joining the Legislature in the chambers yesterday were the state’s constitutional officers as well as various appointed officials. The address marked a milestone with the Governor now having delivered more State of the States than any California Governor in history.
The approximately 15-minute speech reiterated many of the themes present in the proposed FY 2014–15 budget
released earlier this month. Such themes include the need for a permanent rainy day fund and an end to boom-and-bust budgeting. In his remarks, the Governor stated that “fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our democracy but its fundamental predicate.” While he praised the state’s financial comeback, the Governor restated his mantra of fiscal prudence and pledged to hold legislative expenditures in check.
Governor Brown compared the state’s situation today with that of the last decade, which was dominated by budgetary instability. He touted data that one million new jobs have been created since 2010 and that the state now has a budget surplus in the billions. Despite these welcoming achievements, the Governor emphasized the state’s infrastructure deficit and the need to address the state’s unfunded pension liabilities and retiree healthcare costs — which is estimated to be upwards of $200 billion.
Keeping with recent years, the Governor spoke of ‘subsidiarity,’ the principle that each level of government is in the best position to meet its responsibilities. Other remarks focused on the recently implemented Local Control Funding Formula
aimed at providing additional funds to schools with significant numbers of needy students. The Governor also praised local law enforcement for rising to occasion and meeting the demanding needs of prison realignment.
In his closing statement he said that while overcoming California’s challenges, “we will build for the future, not steal from it.”