E.Bay lawmakers react to Jerry Brown’s SOTS

Some East Bay lawmakers are sounding off on the State of the State address that Gov. Jerry Brown delivered earlier this evening. Guess what: They liked it.

From state Senate Majority Leader Ellen Corbett, D-San Leandro:

“This governor is being honest with the Legislature and the voters. We can no longer pretend the state can right its ship without serious action. As Senate Majority Leader, I am committed to working across the aisle and with voters up and down the state to make sure we, once and for all, put California’s budget crisis behind us. Every single person in Sacramento and the state wants California to again be a leader in jobs and prosperity.”

From Assemblywoman Joan Buchanan, D-Alamo:

“Less than a week after assuming office, Governor Brown presented us with a budget that does not rely on accounting gimmicks or inflated revenue projections. He continued the dialogue tonight by talking honestly about the difficult choices all of us must make – Democrats and Republicans. It also is clear that the Governor understands the tremendous potential of California and the contributions that critical programs like education have made to our economy and our lifestyles. I share his vision and his optimism.

“I was born in California at a time when we were the leader in education, aerospace, research and many other industries. Anything was possible in our state then because we made critical investments in our infrastructure, and we were disciplined in how we spent our money and repaid our debt.

“I believe the Governor has been very forthright about the tough road that lies ahead and we must come together as Californians and be willing to make the sacrifices required to right our financial ship and rebuild our infrastructure, our schools, our colleges, our roads. It is both a fiscal and a moral imperative if our children are going to have the same opportunities as our generation.

“The Governor has repeatedly shared his commitment to education and to creating good jobs. These are two of my top priorities. As a budget subcommittee chair, I am holding hearings to review the Governor’s budget to allow for a thorough review and public comment as well as timely action. I am looking forward to continuing my work to help our great state regain its place as a leader in our nation.”

From Assemblyman Bob Wieckowski, D-Fremont:

“I think Governor Brown is being straight-forward and very candid about the challenges facing California and people find that refreshing. He’s not using any smoke and mirrors or Hollywood flash, nor is he searching for scapegoats.

“The reality is there aren’t any quick fixes or silver bullets to get us out of this mess. We need to cushion the blow for those families who have already suffered the most from the recession, and we need to stimulate job growth. We can do that by becoming more competitive in manufacturing, putting people to work to modernize our facilities and make them more energy efficient, and by investing in our universities to advance our biotech industries.

“Our challenges are daunting, but they can be overcome by the creativity and imagination that has made our state the eighth-largest economy in the world.”

As the Bay Area has elected no Republicans to this Legislature, I picked a few GOP voices from elsewhere in the state. Follow me after the jump to read ‘em…

From state Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach:

“The Governor hits the nail on the head when he says the focus has to be on the budget deficit. The quickest way to attack that deficit and help California’s economy recover is to bring in more private sector jobs. That, in my opinion, is job number one for the legislature.

“It comes as no surprise to Republicans that state government continues to be a money pit. Clearly the Governor is aware of it, the legislature is aware of it, and most importantly the taxpayers are aware of it. We all know what we have to do: reduce spending and implement structural reforms that stop future legislatures and Governors from spending us right back into a hole. It is time to stop talking and just do it.

“Government needs to be smaller and more efficient, not larger. Simply raising taxes to cover the skyrocketing costs of running the bureaucracy is counterproductive. Let’s focus on policies that allow working families to keep more of what they earn – not less”.

From state Sen. Mimi Walters, R-Laguna Niguel:

“This evening, Governor Brown spoke at great length about the importance of passing tax extensions on Californians. The detail he failed to mention is that his budget proposal includes approximately $60 billion in new taxes spread over 5 years.

“It is absurd that our Legislature would even consider asking Californians to pay $60 billion in additional taxes by leading the public to believe that those increases would solve our state’s fiscal problems. Depending upon which financial analysis of our pension system you believe, we have an unfunded pension liability of somewhere between a hundred billion dollars and half-a-trillion dollars.

“California has a massive tsunami of unfunded pension liability looming on the horizon. It is deceitful for the Legislature to engage the public in a conversation regarding 5 years of tax increases under the guise of balancing our state’s budget. When our pension systems are no longer able to meet their financial obligations to our public employees, the taxpayers will be required to cover the shortfall. The same actors who are now asking Californians to pay 5 years of higher taxes will go back to the voters again and again, tax increase after tax increase.”

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.

  • John W

    Many people are busting Brown’s chops for not including retiree pensions and health benefits in his plan. I have two responses to that. First, that’s too complicated to deal with in time to meet budget deadlines. Second, I’m not sure I want Sacramento doing the pension fix. Anything they come up with is likely to fall well short of what is needed, but would be just enough to take the wind out of any effort to get a ballot initiative — which is probably the only way to get the radical changes we need.