Governor Brown says California economy is OK

Gov. Jerry Brown said Wednesday (May 22) that California’s economy is improving. Speaking to hundreds of business, agricultural, and educational leaders in Sacramento, Brown said, “We’ve solved a lot of problems.” But, he added, “We’ve got a lot of problems.”

In contrast, Chamber president Allan Zaremberg addressed a Legislative Briefing sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce on Monday (May 21) in Sacramento, and said that California’s employers are facing three major cost pressures. The three pressures, Zaremberg said, are rising costs for workers compensation insurance, a debt of $10 billion in the state’s unemployment insurance fund, and the costs that employers must pay for health insurance.

Yet, the Governor stressed the importance of an “entrepreneurial spirit” and “creativity” in making the state’s economy better. Brown said that when he took office in January 2011, California had the 50th worst credit rating among the nation’s 50 states. Now, he said, California is 49th. He added, “We’ll be 48th before you know it.”

Brown spoke at the 88th Annual Sacramento Host Breakfast, which is sponsored by the California Chamber of Commerce. Brown, who was governor for two terms from 1975 to 1983 and who was elected to a third term in November 2010, said that in 1975 California had a collective income of $350 billion. “Now, it’s almost $2 trillion,” he said.

Brown took credit for lowering the state’s debt. When he began his third term in January 2011, Brown said the state’s debt was $20 billion. A year later, the debt was down to $8 billion. Today, Brown said, there is no debt and the budget is balanced for the fist time on 10 years.

The state, according to Brown, must “stay the course.”