Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State address

SAN DIEGO (KUSI) – In Governor Jerry Brown’s State of the State address Thursday morning, he said we have much to be thankful for in a world that is profoundly uncertain, including the rising fear of terrorism, and global economic turmoil.

His focus was on the challenge to solve today’s problems without making those of tomorrow even worse.

A rather short address, 19 minutes with no sweeping new policy ideas, instead a sort of single mindedness to concentrate on the commitments we already have.

He talked about California’s tax system that perpetuates boom and bust cycles and produces larger and larger deficits, resulting in painful cuts.

"If we’re to minimize the zig-zag of spend, cut spend that this tax system inevitably produces we must build a very large reserve," Brown said.

He talked about inequality and an economy that provides higher wages at the top and low wagers at the bottom.

He’s mentioned existing programs to counteract those trends, including raising the minimum wage, strengthening prevailing wage jobs, sick leave for 6.5 million workers, Cal-grants and paid tuition for community college students and child care programs.

"And in May we’ll start providing full health care coverage to the children of undocumented workers," he said.

California has fully embraced Obamacare, enrolling $13.5 million into Medi-Cal, another $1.5 million into Covered California, and more in home health care workers who will now get overtime pay.

But these benefits come at a cost.

"In 2012 the general fund paid $15 billion for medical but by 2019 that number is expected to be $25 billion," he said.

In-home health care is also rising.

"In just two years, total spending will jump by $2 billion," he said.

Since 2011, school funding has increased by 51 percent, but the pension deficit for teachers and university workers have grown to $220 billion.

Then there’s the deferred maintenance which is $77 billion.

"At some point, sooner rather than later, we have to bite the bullet and enact new fees and taxes for this purpose," Brown said.

On the bright side, the governor said, is the water bond to deal with the drought and water use in the future.

"There’s no magic bullet, but a series of actions must be taken," he said.

And ended with his push on climate change and cap and trade to reduce greenhouse gases.

Despite the governor’s emphasis on current commitments, the Democrats, eyeing the surpluses, will pressure the governor to spend more on social service programs which he will resist. 

Local Assemblymember, and candidate for Senate, Rocky Chavez responded to the State of the State address, saying Governor Brown needs to focus on cutting waste.

Chavez said, "The rubber band can only stretch so far until it snaps. We need to put practical solutions into place to take care of these issues while continuing to budget for our rainy day fund."

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