Jerry Brown on Budget & Economy
Investment in infrastructure makes long term economic sense
A long-term obligation is our deteriorating infrastructure. From state office buildings here in Sacramento to levees and facilities in our parks, universities, prisons & state hospitals--serious deficiencies abound. In this year's budget, I am proposing
that we use $2 billion of our temporary surplus on one-time investments to repair and replace aging structures. Neglecting what we have built over many years and letting it further deteriorate makes no sense and will just pile up costs in the long run.
Source: 2016 State of the State speech to California legislature
, Jan 21, 2016
Fiscal discipline is fundamental to a free society
Q: You took a state that a lot of people felt was ungovernable, chiefly because of the budget deficit, and now there is a surplus. Is there a national leadership lesson that California provides?
BROWN: Well, you've got to be tough on spending.
No matter how liberal you want to be, at the end of the day, fiscal discipline is the fundamental predicate of a free society. And you just have to maintain that.
Q: Is there a lesson for President Obama? He says, at least for now, we've got to spend more.
BROWN: Well, yeah. Spend more.
But in the framework of adjusting your long-term liabilities so we're in balance. So that's not inconsistent. Invest and create jobs, but over the long term, your revenue has to meet your liabilities. And that's not the case today.
Source: Meet the Press 2014 interview by David Gregory
, Mar 2, 2014
Ping-pong budgeting makes no sense
In earlier years, Brown was jokingly called "Gov. Moonbeam." But Brown today is grounded much more on earth than in outer space--sometimes to his own party's chagrin. After years of harsh cuts during the recession, Democrats were disappointed that
Brown's proposed budget this year called for socking away billions in a rainy-day fund for future emergencies, rather than restoring some of those cuts.
California's current budget windfall has come almost entirely from a rebounding stock market, and
from billions in revenue generated by a capital gains tax--the most volatile revenue stream. Brown, scarred by budget battles both a few years ago and a few decades ago, said the state should save money in the good years to pay for the bad years.
think that kind of ping-pong budgeting, where first you ping and then you pong, makes no sense," Brown said. "It's cruel budgeting to propose a spending program and then have to finance it two or three years from now by cutting somebody else's program."
Source: Washington Post on 2014 California gubernatorial race
, Feb 28, 2014
Follow advice from Book of Genesis: out away some surplus
While we know our revenues will fluctuate up and down, our long-term liabilities are enormous and ever growing. We also must account for future risks that could negatively affect our budgets like congressional decisions and natural disasters.
So we can't go back to "business as usual." Boom and bust is our lot and we must follow the ancient advice, recounted in the Book of Genesis, that Joseph gave to the Pharaoh: Put away your surplus during the years of great plenty so you will be ready
for the lean years which are sure to follow.
Most governors and legislatures--in modern times--have forgotten this advice. This time we won't do that. We will pay down our debts and remember the lessons of history.
Fiscal discipline is not the
enemy of our democracy but its fundamental predicate. To avoid the mistakes of the past we must spend with great prudence and we must establish a solid rainy day fund, locked into the Constitution.
Source: 2014 State of the State Address to California legislature
, Jan 22, 2014
$27B budget gap then; multibillion-dollar surplus now
Brown noted the recent shift in how the rest of the nation views California, now that the state has closed a $27-billion budget gap from when Brown began his term in 2011.
Instead of being viewed as a failed state, Brown said, California has regained its reputation as an engine of innovation and creativity.
"California is still a very yeasty place," he said, noting the state's record for companies that develop new technologies that grow into major industries.
He said the state now has multibillion-dollar surpluses that can continue for the next several years if state lawmakers spend responsibly.
Source: Los Angeles Times on 2014 California Governor race
, Dec 16, 2013
Proposes balanced budget and $12.5 billion in cuts
I am proposing a balanced budget that cuts $12.5 billion from proposed state spending. It's time to restore California to fiscal solvency and put us on the road to economic recovery and jobs.
Since it's going to take time to fully implement the restructuring program, I'm going to ask for five years of extension of existing current taxes. This will allow the restructuring to proceed in an orderly way.
Source: California 2011 gubernatorial press release #16874
, Jan 10, 2011
Page last updated: Mar 10, 2019