California Gov. Jerry Brown said on Wednesday (May 21) that the state’s economy has recovered from the Great Recession and is in robust condition.
“California is definitely back,” the governor said.
In an upbeat speech at a Sacramento breakfast of 1,300 business leaders, Brown, a Democrat, said that no one is now saying that California is a “failed state.”
Brown said that California’s $27 billion budget deficit, which existed several years ago, has been eliminated. Referring to the closure of a deficit of this magnitude, Brown proclaimed: “It’s never been done before.”
In December 2011, when California’s financial outlook appeared bleak, the governor said in Latin, “Nemo dat quod non habet.” (No man can give what he does not have.)
In November 2012, Brown supported Proposition 30, a measure that raised the state’s sales tax and personal income tax. The proposition passed.
In his Wednesday speech in Sacramento, Brown said that legislative bodies have a “bad odor.” He said that the behavior of legislative bodies reflects the “challenges of a free society.” “Authoritarian solutions,” he added, are not appropriate.
California, according to the governor, has the eighth largest economy in the world and generates $2 trillion per year in the output of goods and services.
Brown said that there is no need for “command and control” policies in education. He said that local schools should be empowered to run their own operations.
Pensions for state-government workers and for the state’s teachers promise a 7.5 percent annual rate of return, the governor said. Returns of this size, he added, are not sustainable.
California’s current budget surplus, according to the governor, is the result of higher capital-gains taxes derived from a stronger stock market. The budget surplus that California enjoys now, Brown said, may not last. He has proposed setting aside much of the current surplus for bad economic times.
Brown, from 1975 to 2003, served two terms as governor. In 2010, he was elected to a third term. Now, at age 76, he is running for a fourth term.
In his Wednesday speech, Brown expressed concern over climate change, saying the western part of Antarctica is melting at an alarming rate.
California’s goal of having one-third of the state’s energy come from renewable sources is close to being achieved.
According to the governor, California’s prospects look good. “The future is ahead if us,” he said.
The governor made his remarks at the Sacramento Convention Center. He spoke at the annual breakfast sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce.