Brown: Proving The ‘Declinists’ Wrong

JAN. 18, 2012

By KATY GRIMES

Was it Gov. Jerry Brown’s State of the State address today? Or the “more show than substance” address, as some lawmakers dubbed it?

Brown defended High-Speed Rail, pushed for implementation of AB 32, touted economic recovery, criticized “dystopian journalists” and Republican critics and again called for tax increases.

“California is on the mend,” Brown insisted. But he still called for tax increases in a ballot initiative that he said would balance the budget.

Brown was all over the place. He also talked about more cuts to state spending, the Delta water project and his goal of achieving 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. “You have laid the foundation by adopting the requirement that one third of our electricity come from renewable sources by that date,” he said. “This morning I can tell you we are on track to meet that goal and substantially exceed it. In the last two years alone, California has permitted over 16,000 megawatts of solar, wind and geothermal energy projects.”

Unemployment

“Despite some modest job growth, more than two million Californians remain unemployed,” said State Board of Equalization Member and former Republican state Sen. George Runner, in a response to Brown’s speech. “Rather than drive more job creators and wage earners away from our state, we should be doing everything in our power to help them stay here and succeed.”

“California is a wonderful state. The land of dreams,” said Brown as he cited the “bold moves” he plans to take with High-Speed Rail. “President Obama supports it, and has provided funding. Without hesitation, I urge your approval.”

Brown harkened back to his first two terms as Governor. “As governor the last time, I signed legislation to study the concept. Now 30 years later, we are within weeks of a revised business plan that will enable us to begin initial construction before the year is out.”

‘Declinists’

Critical of his critics, Brown referred several times to the “declinists” in the state who disagree with him on how to bring about reforms and fiscal balance. “Putting our fiscal house in order is good stewardship and helps us regain the trust of the people. It also builds confidence in California as a place to invest and realize one’s dreams,” said Brown. “Those who believe in California’s decline will shrink back. Contrary to those declinists, who sing of Texas and bemoan our woes, California is still the land of dreams — as well as the Dream Act.”

Then he thanked the Legislature for sending him the Dream Act, which grants illegal immigrants access to state financial aid at public universities and community colleges.

Brown offered his list of goals: “If we work together, we can stimulate jobs, 
build renewable energy, reduce pollution and greenhouse gasses, launch the nation’s only high-speed rail system, reach agreement on a plan to fix the Delta, improve our schools, reform our pensions, and
 make sure that prison realignment is working — to protect public safety and reduce recidivism.”

He stated and restated his support for implementation of AB 32, California’s Global Warming Solutions Act, and the California Renewables Portfolio Standard, the mandate that California create 20,000 megawatts of renewable energy by 2020. “Under AB 32, California has stepped out and crafted a bold plan to deal with climate change and foreign oil dependency,” he said. “The plan will require less carbon in our fuels, more efficient technologies across a broad swath of businesses and a carefully designed cap and trade system that uses market incentives instead of prescriptive mandates.”

But Brown did not address what AB 32 implementation will cost taxpayers.

Clean Tech

Brown insisted that California is attracting billions of dollars in clean tech venture capital investments because of the clean energy mandates. “In 2011, almost 40 percent of such investments were made in California, making our state not only the leader in the nation but in the world.” But again, there was no talk about the hefty subsidies going to these investors, or how they stand to benefit from cap and trade.

“California also leads the nation in cleaning up the air, encouraging electric vehicles and reducing pollution and greenhouse gases. Our vehicle emissions standards — which have always set the pace — now have been adopted by the federal government for the rest of the country,” said Brown.

“The speech was vintage Jerry, filled with humor and witticisms, but with the same mantra: invest, spend and tax, at a time when millions are out of work and the state will be facing trigger cuts and deficits for years to come,” said Assemblywoman Diane Harkey, R-Dana Point. “Growing state government and adding to our debt to do so, is not the way to reduce California’s mountain of debt or increase employment.”

Other legislators apparently concurred.

Caltrans Mismanagement

“I want to work with Gov. Brown to solve California’s problems,” said Sen. Joel Anderson, R-El Cajon, in a statement.  “I like his proposal to consolidate some departments and eliminate some boards and commissions.  But it’s hard to take the governor too seriously when he continues to ignore the utter mismanagement at his Department of Transportation (Caltrans).  This is a department that reports directly to the governor, yet he ignores the underlying problems at Caltrans, which wastes billions of dollars and now is jeopardizing the safety of Californians.”

Anderson cited several issues and gross mismanagement at CalTrans, including 40 percent pay hikes, establishing an average yearly salary of more than $100,000 for all 20,000 Caltrans employees, ordering new vehicles when unused fleets sit gathering dust and billing taxpayers for luxury travel junkets.

Brown was good on his short assessment of the need for pension reform, but only referenced his 12-point plan, which has received a tepid response from lawmakers. “As for pensions, I have put forth my 12 point proposal. Examine it. Improve it,” Brown said. “But please take up the issue and do something real. I am committed to pension reform because I believe there is a real problem.”

Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Hills, summed up Brown’s speech, “Democrat politicians’ reliance on raising taxes as the only solution illustrates their lack of ability to effectively lead our state out of this economic recession.”

11 comments

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  1. Steven Maviglio
    Steven Maviglio 18 January, 2012, 14:16

    FACT: Even if Brown’s tax hikes are approved by voters, the state tax burden will be basically what it was back when Ronald Reagan was governor in the 1970s.In Reagan’s last year in Sacramento, state taxes amounted to $6.89 per $100 of personal income. Currently, the level is $6.45. With the hikes, it would be $6.67, according to the State Department of Finance, which charts such data. The high tax point was $7.96 in 1999.Also, according to the finance department, California ranks 19th nationally in state and local taxes and fees, at $16.42 per $100 of personal income. The highest-taxing states relative to income are Alaska, Wyoming and New York.

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  2. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 January, 2012, 14:26

    Mr. Clown said that “California is still the land of dreams”. Sure it is if you happen to be a leech. If you are a government worker and make 2-3 times more than you are actually worth it’s the ‘land of dreams’. Or if you are a welfare recipient and collect a check from the taxpayers without being required to labor for it that would be a ‘land of dreams’. Did you hear Clown say in his speech that California has 12% of the nation’s population and 33% of the nation’s welfare recipients? Of course not. But that pretty much says it all. If you are a producer it’s more a ‘land of nightmares’ – because they take whatever you produce and hand it over to the leeches. It’s not going to change, folks. You have two real options. Stick around and become a leech yourself or flee the state to keep what you have.

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  3. Wayne Lusvardi
    Wayne Lusvardi 18 January, 2012, 14:29

    Isn’t it misleading to compare California taxes on an income per person basis when has a diverse tax base from income taxes, sales taxes, property taxes, corporate taxes, capital gains taxes and estate taxes, let alone local utility user’s taxes and school parcel taxes?

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  4. Bob
    Bob 18 January, 2012, 14:57

    Steven:

    Show me a state that has a marginal tax rate in excess of 9% that kicks in around 47k. Also, Cawleefornia (as Anode calls it) has the third highest sales tax of any state.

    You can manipulate statistics any way you want but it still does not get away from the fact that this state is a high tax state.

    Reply this comment
  5. Bob
    Bob 18 January, 2012, 14:58

    Ah Caltrans…our US senator Dirty Dianne wants to hand over the Cawleefornia Boondogle Train…er…Bullet Train to Caltrans.

    Reply this comment
  6. CalWatchdog
    CalWatchdog Author 18 January, 2012, 15:46

    Steve Maviglio is quoting this week’s George Skelton column. Both miss the point, which I have made, that California spending depends exactly on median income. Because median income has dropped, therefore state spending must drop, too. Increasing taxes only would hammer median income, ironically forcing more spending cuts. By the way, how did Arnold’s tax increases work out? Did they solve the budget problem? Here’s my article, with a nice graph: http://www.calwatchdog.com/2011/12/07/state-cant-support-more-spendin/

    — John Seiler

    Reply this comment
  7. Ron Kilmartin
    Ron Kilmartin 18 January, 2012, 20:55

    Brown’s uniformed defense of AB 32, etc., could support a constitutional requirement for politicians to have a couple years of pre-qualification incollege science. His support of more taxes, bullet trains, etc., indicates a fundamental ignorance of how the American Economic System works. You cannot have the ruling class living on 2 to 3 times the wages of the working class. It is a formula for disaster, if not revolution. The California bureaucracy – the “petite functionaires” – must be drastically cut, starting with the AB32 people and continuing with other agencies that did not exist in his father’s administration. We need liberty; but Brown is going the way of King George III.

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  8. Barb
    Barb 18 January, 2012, 21:45

    And to think that Ca is stuck with brown until 2014! Deplorable!

    Reply this comment
  9. queeg
    queeg 18 January, 2012, 21:49

    This site draws propagandists…..no tax is a good tax!!!!

    Shills for bloated government and the welfare state cannot tell the truth!!!!

    Unemployment will be extremely high due to a failed public school system…millions with marginal or no skills!!!

    So cut the lies libs….you have failed and your new governor will fail due to not representing all the people just unions, goverment workers and the nightmare bullet train and enviro nut jobs!!!

    Reply this comment
  10. Beelzebub
    Beelzebub 18 January, 2012, 22:21

    Here is the fundamental problem, particularly in California: There are more California residents sucking on the government teat than not. If you include those who are drawing government pensions, those on social security, medicare, medicaid, veteran’s health care, Section 8 or drawing some type of government paycheck – we are talking well over 50% of the California population. If you do not receive some type of regular government stipend or benefit – you are in the minority. You’re outnumbered. Their voice is louder than yours. So the beast will continue to grow until it kills the host and dies a natural death. How long that will take is pure guesswork. After 2008 I thought 2011 would see the 2nd leg down. I was wrong. They might be able to kick the can down the road another 10 years. Who knows??? But the beast will eventually die because none of the math makes any sense. If you are a producer and don’t get any government skittles – your only real hope for a quality life is to flee the state. Otherwise the leeches will eat you alive.

    Reply this comment

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