| SACRAMENTO, Calif.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. Jan 24 Governor Jerry Brown,
hailing what he described as a hard-fought rebound in
California's fortunes, used his annual State of the State
address on Thursday to urge fiscal discipline to avoid a return
to budget deficits and boom-and-bust cycles.
He called on the state Legislature to help him keep his
promise to voters to "jealously guard" the billions of dollars
in additional revenue made available through passage last year
of a ballot measure temporarily extending tax increases.
"This means living within our means and not spending what we
don't have," he said. "Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our
good intentions but the basis for realizing them."
He added, "It's cruel to lead people on by expanding good
programs, only to cut them back when the funding disappears.
This isn't progress. It's not even progressive. It's an
illusion. The stop and go, the boom and bust serves no one.
We're not going back there."
The Democratic governor said, however, he remained committed
to two costly enterprises - completion of a high-speed rail
system and construction of two massive tunnels to move water
from northern to southern California while restoring wildlife
and fish habitat in the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
Freed up to pursue a broader agenda midway through his
four-year term now that the state's budget crisis has been
alleviated, Brown also said he would press ahead for passage of
his plan to alter the state's formula for funding public
The governor has proposed channeling more of the state's
education money to schools in districts with a higher proportion
of low-income families and children who speak English as a
"Equal treatment for children living in unequal situations
is not justice," he said.
Brown also called for a halt to tuition increases that have
driven up the cost of higher education in the state, declaring,
"I will not let the students become the default financiers of
our colleges and universities."
State Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway said after
the speech that she saw "a lot of common ground between
Republicans and the governor" in his call for the state to
exercise fiscal restraint.
And she said she agreed with the governor's emphasis on
investing more in education, as well as his pledge to streamline
government regulations for the sake of business growth.
But the chairman of the state Republican Party, Tom Del
Beccaro, criticized the governor for not outlining new proposals
to stimulate job creation.
(Reporting by Greg Lucas; Additional reporting and writing by
by Steve Gorman; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)