Liveblogging the State of the State

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1007: Standing O and cheers for Maria, far more popular than her husband.

1008: Da Mayor is in the da house.

1010: The governor has just likened California’s government to a miniature pony and a pot-bellied pig, but the message is about teamwork, so it’s OK.

1012: He’ll sign the Race to the Top education legislation as soon as it hits his desk.

1014: He’s happy about the water deal, too. “We here in this room made history.” But it’s up to the Legislature to sell it to constituents before the bond-issue ballot vote.

1016: “Priorities” for the coming year: “We have to get them straight and we have to keep them straight… jobs, jobs, jobs.” People and businesses are California’s engine of self-betterment and progress. Four proposals: $500 million jobs package to create jobs and retrain workers; streamline construction job permitting; home-buyers’ tax credits of up to $10,000 for purchase of new or existing homes; exempt purchases of green-tech manufacturing equipment from sales tax.

10:20: Worst is over for California’s economy, we’re well-positioned to take advantage of future, but government can be a better partner to economy. We must reform our tax system, which doesn’t reflect our economy. Too much reliance on income taxes for the rich; we’re “stuck in the wrong century.” He’s touting the wildly unpopular recommendations of the tax reform commission. “Bold is what we do in California.”

1021: Pass the Best Practices Budget Accountability Act, especially using one-time spikes in revenue to pay one-time costs. Current tax and budget system is cruel, forces us to make “Sophie’s choice” where only the most vulnerable are getting hurt.

1025: “As bitter as the words in my mouth are, we face additional cuts … We have no choice.” But, “I will protect education funding in this budget.” That goes for higher ed, too. Can’t be spending more on prisons than universities, it’s “no way to proceed into the future … It simply is not healthy.” Will propose constitutional amendment that prison spending can’t exceed higher ed spending. We must find more cost-effective ways to run prison system: Let private prison companies compete, and put savings into higher ed. “A historic and transforming realignment of California’s priorities.”

1027: Federal funds must be part of solution. We only get 78 cents back on every tax dollar we send to Washington, DC. “We are not looking for a federal bailout, just for federal fairness.” In particular, need support on immigration-related costs. “We no longer can ignore what is owed to us, or what we’re forced to spend on federal mandates.” Now Congress is about to pile billions more onto California with health care reform, which while a laudable goal, has become rife with “bribes, deals and loopholes.” California’s delegation should vote against the bill, or get in there and fight for same “sweetheart deals” that Ben Nelson got for Nebraska. “He got the corn and we got the husk.”

1028: Pension reform! For current employees, pensions can’t be changed, either legally or morally: “We cannot break the promises we already have made.” But burden must be reduced going forward.

1031: Time magazine piece “sounded just like one of my speeches,” praising California for greenness, diversity, globalization, innovation. “So now do you believe me? This is the greatest place in the world!” See the positives, and use the brainpower to solve problems.

1032: Visited troops in Iraq, broke bread with them, chatted – “I pumped them up.” Many have served tour after tour, losing homes, spouses, limbs, lives. Vets need help; California has more returning vets than any other state. Helping anyone who shed or risked blood for our nation is a priority. Recent Afghanistan and Iraq veterans are in the gallery, getting a standing O.

1033: No matter how hard our times, veterans understand the Golden State’s promise, and we in this chamber must fulfill our sacred trust to keep the state a great place to come home to. Thanks, God Bless.

Josh Richman

Josh Richman covers state and national politics for the Bay Area News Group. A New York City native, he earned a bachelor’s degree in journalism from the University of Missouri and reported for the Express-Times of Easton, Pa. for five years before coming to the Oakland Tribune and ANG Newspapers in 1997. He is a frequent guest on KQED Channel 9’s “This Week in Northern California;” a proud father; an Eagle Scout; a somewhat skilled player of low-stakes poker; a rather good cook; a firm believer in the use of semicolons; and an unabashed political junkie who will never, EVER seek elected office.