Live-Blogging Brown State-of-State
I’m going to live-blog Gov. Jerry Brown’s State-of-the-State address, at 10 am on Jan. 18, 2012. Assuming the technology works. You can watch his address online here.
9:43 am: A minister is leading a prayer. I thought the U.S. Supreme Court banned religion in government buildings in America? I guess it’s OK, though, because the minister attacked “individualism.” Translation: Stop opposing the tax increases Gov. Brown will be asking for!
9:45: Some mundane business of the Assembly.
10:02: The governor is late. Typical for this state.
10:03. One good thing. At least Arnold isn’t here conjuring up his fantasies about how everything is “fantastisch!” in “Kauliphornia!” even as he was destroying the state.
10:06: Assembly Speaker Perez says he’s appointing an escort for the governor. Six minutes late. Can’t he escort himself?
“Waiting for Jerry” sounds like a Hollywood flop, the kind of stinker they release in January because they know it’s no good.
Brown Arrives — Late
10:08: Enter Brown, to applause. The legislators are eager for him to call for increasing taxes so they can pay for the massive pensions of their string-pullers in the government-workers’ unions.
Brown’s wife is introduced to applause.
10:09. Lt. Gov. Newsom is introduced, to less applause, then Atty. Gen. Kamala Harris and the other state officers. Supreme Court justices.
10:11: Darrell Steinberg, president pro-tem of the Senate. Like Perez, he’s a union hack. He calls for “positive achievements.”
10:12: The Internet signal to Brown’s Web site went down. Brown’s office can’t even get a streaming video to work. I checked my computer. It’s fine.
Brown: “Increase Taxes”
10:16. Brown talking about shrinking a $20 billion structural deficit last year. Problem now 1/4 of last year: $5 billion.
Laments 4 Republican votes were lacking to put tax increase on the ballot in 2011.
“Again, I propose cuts and temporary taxes. Neither is popular, but both must be done.”
He talks about the economic problems in Europe. Which — he doesn’t say — were due to government profligacy like California’s.
He says he’s determined to go ahead with spending cuts and tax increases, which would be half of the tax increase (Arnold’s) in place in 2010.
Brown says, in the long term, more substantial tax reform is needed. But such reforms only happen during a crisis, like now.
Says California is not a “failed state.” Yes it is. His governorship is proof.
The recession was bad, he says, but economy now is growing. He doesn’t mention that the growth occurred after Arnold’s 2009 tax increases expired in 2011 — and were not re-imposed.
Dream Act Great
He lauds the Dream Act, which gave special subsidies from tax dollars to illegal alien students at California’s government universities and colleges. But if Brown and the Legislature don’t follow the law, why should we?
10:21: California has problems, but opportunity. He dreams: fix the delta, build high-speed rail (he’s stuck on that), reduce greenhouse gases, etc. He’s in full Moonbeam mode.
New GoBiz office promotes business. Another bureaucracy. But what’s really needed is cuts in taxes and regulations.
Our state keeps demanding more efficient energy. Actually, it’s the government forcing us.
Talks about climate change — disproved by the climategate scandal.
Talks about 33 percent mandate for renewable energy. But some estimates say that will double energy costs. Why should he care? He’s rich.
Green jobs, he says, are in their infancy, like computers were decades ago. Wrong.
AB 32 means California “stepped out” — yes, into lala land. It uses “market incentives” instead of mandates. Not for industries leaving the state because the “incentives” are just crony capitalism to fund hucksters like Al Gore.
10:25: High-Speed Rail new biz plan soon. Will start building the first phase. Obama behind it. “Without hesitation, I urge your approval,” he says. Good. This will become the poster boondoggle for the anti-tax increase forces in November.
If you believe CA is in decline, you’ll “shrink back from such an undertaking.” But, he insists, CA still is the “gold mountain” the Chinese immigrants called it in the 19th century.
“Critics of high-speed rail aboud.” Yes, because it’s a boondoggle.
I need a drink. Too bad I’m at work.
“The critics are… wrong now. We’re going to build the first phase” because its $2 billion cost is worth it, and will pay for itself. Moonbeam!
Water project. Dual goals: restoring Delta ecosystem, ensuring a reliable water supply. Great. But he’ll mess it up.
10:29. Schools. “Have a profound effect on our future,” he said. A good reason to be a pessimist.
6 million students, 300,000 teachers (whose union owns him), “Some humility is called for.”
“Thoughts”: responsibilty must be clearly delineated between the various levels of power. Don’t concentrate decision making at the federal or state level. Too late, Jerry. The Feds run everything.
Will he mention the key “level of power”: parents? No, he doesn’t mention them. Parents are irrelevant to him.
Budget, he says, replaces categorical spending with “more authority to local school districts… create transparency… reduce bureaucracy.” Good luck on that one.
He says we need to “devote more tax dollars” to education. “Schools will be in a much stronger position.” No they won’t. The tax money will just go to pensions.
Too many tests, he said, with the results coming too slowly. Need fewer tests, with numbers available fast. Good luck on that one, too.
Wants more supervision of teaching.
10:33: Pensions. “I put forth my 12-point proposal. Examine it. Improve it.” We did, here. His reform is pathetic.
He says it’s a real problem. “Three times as many are retiring as are entering the workforce.” He seems to be talking about retirement in general, not just government-worker retirements.
Prison alignment: We’re just beginning. Cooperation is remarkable. “But we have much to do.”
10:34: “The declinists of Calfironia are wrong. We’re on the move. We’re on the mend. Let’s get it done.”
For some reason that reminds me of Ringo’s comment in “A Hard Day’s Night”: “I’m not a mocker. I’m a rocker.”
Brown’s finished. Blessedly, a speech of only about half an hour. About middling in effectiveness as these speeches go. He’s optimistic about the state. He’s pushing reforms. He wants a lot more of your tax money. He’s still Moonbeam dreaming of a future of bullet trains and renewable energy.
But his dream is California’s nightmare.
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The California State Teachers’ Retirement System is terribly underfunded. The last official report put its shortfall at $74 billion. State
Depending how old your car is, in California every couple of years you have to take it to get “smogged”