Capitol Alert

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Gov. Jerry Brown began his speech Wednesday by chiding Republican lawmakers who responded a little too rapidly to his State of the State address. Assembly Republican leader Connie
Conway
and Senate Republican leader Bob Huff put out their videotaped response a day earlier.

"I noticed that Connie and Mr. Huff put out their critique of my speech 24 hours ago," Brown said. "I'll let you in on a little secret -- my speech wasn't finished 24 hours ago."

Given what he called their "powers of precognition and clairvoyance," Brown said he planned to check with Conway and Huff on some stock tips after the speech.

"We could use them -- especially the state," he said.

Here's an assortment of responses that arrived after Brown stopped talking:

Senate President Pro Tem Darrell Steinberg, D-Sacramento: "Certainly among the very best if not the best I've heard. ... It combined a positive vision for California, which people desperately want and need, with a concrete, a real path to actually get there. ...To me our goal ought to be, given what's gone on over the last couple of years, our goal must be to spend more time, energy and focus building positive achievements for California then we spend merely trying to hold on."

Senate Republican leader Bob Huff, R-Diamond Bar: "He said we can't spend more than we have, we've got to bring spending in line with the revenues. Republicans agree with that, except his solution is different. His solution is that you go out and raise more tax money rather than you continue to make government lean, more efficient and cut regulations that stifle job creation. So, to that degree, we agree on some of the problems as they're framed, but we disagree on the solutions."

Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles: The governor's address was a "clear and compelling case for optimism in the future of California and the need to invest in that future, specifically with respect to his revenue proposal."

"The Governor presented a compelling argument for needed job creation measures to put Californians back to work, as well as new revenues to finishing up the hard work of putting California's fiscal house in order. He presented a comprehensive list of areas to move California forward, and my colleagues and I are looking forward to working with the Governor to achieve new progress for California."

Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway, R-Tulare: "Working with local governments, if there's a better way to do it, that's fine. I think my question would be, OK, if you're going to send those services down there, are you going to keep all those same services on a statewide level? And the response is, 'Well, we can't cut those people.' Well, something's got to give. So, I think you have a layer of state bureaucracy, now you've transferred some of that responsibility down to local bureaucracy, and yet you still have the state bureaucracy in place."

Sen. Ted Gaines, R-Roseville: "Lower taxes, smarter regulations and a government that lives within its means -- that is the path to a vibrant and prosperous California. Unfortunately, Governor Brown is headed down the wrong path."

Assemblywoman Beth Gaines, R-Roseville: "I was really looking forward to hearing some fresh ideas, some innovative ideas and some real leadership. Unfortunately, I didn't hear that. The way we're going to get the economy going again is to provide small businesses relief in regulatory reform."

Sen. Doug LaMalfa, R-Richvale: "We could go a lot farther if we had reformed reductions. It's not just swinging a meat ax and making cuts. I think we need to be thoughtful in what we do in every phase around here. So if we could talk about and actually accomplish something to reform the way that state government does business - and there's multitude of ideas out there on duplications of agencies, duplication of effort, simple things as well as what should we be spending money on."

Sen. Anthony Cannella, R-Ceres: "Water must also be a priority. The agreement that brought us the water bond was historic. If we think we can fiddle around with it, we will see it fall apart and our opportunity will be squandered."

Sen. Lois Wolk, D-Davis: "On the Delta, I accept the governor's invitation to engage constructively to find a solution to restore the Delta and improve water supply reliability for the state. However, I don't think it will require what the Governor described as 'an enormous project,' a giant canal, and taking 100,000 acres of Delta farmland out of production. But it will require supporting everyone's effort to reduce reliance on the Delta as their primary source of water and relying more on sustainable regional water supplies. I look forward to working with the governor and others on developing an affordable and realistic solution that all Californians can support."

Jon Fleischman, publisher of The FlashReport: "Jerry Brown's speech was fairly predictable. While there were some good ideas on the margins, including some modest pension and education reforms, the central theme continues to be increased taxation of Californians, and more redistribution of wealth by state government. Brown continues to focus on pushing for government intervention in the marketplace, whether by touting "green" projects or an unwanted, wasteful high speed rail system."

Rick Jacobs, chair and founder of the Courage Campaign: "We agree with Governor Brown: California is still the land of dreams and we share in his optimism that our state can be restored. That's why we think he made the case for the Millionaires Tax of 2012 to pass. California can no longer afford temporary measures to refund our state. And the vast majority of Californians, those who work for a living and are barely scraping by, have no more to give."

George Runner, member, Board of Equalization: "I agree with the Governor that we must do more to spur job creation and investment in our state. Unfortunately, by pushing higher taxes, the governor sends the entirely wrong message. We don't need higher taxes, we need more private sector jobs."

Art Pulaski, executive secretary-treasurer, California Labor Federation: "We fully support the governor's call to begin building a high-speed rail system that will transform our state and restore our place as a world leader in innovation. We also applaud his continued efforts to green our economy, protecting the air we breathe and water we drink while creating thousands of good clean energy jobs."

Assemblyman Dan Logue, R-Penn Valley: "It's in the wrong direction, to afford to build a bullet train that's going to cost $113 billion of resources when we have $120 billion of unfunded bonds already. Where's the money going to come from? What's happening? People with money are leaving california and people with no money are coming to California. That's a formula for disaster."

Assemblyman Roger Dickinson, D-Sacramento: "I do think the governor sounded the right themes, which were really twin themes - one of continued prudence, of continuing to get the state's fiscal house in order, but in the same time looking to the future. Recornizing that for California to build on its greatness, we will have to make investments -- investments in things like high speed rail and making sure that the ecological health of our delta is preserved while we supply water to Californians, investments in education."

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones: "I think it's very challenging for us to balance the budget in a way that doesn't hurt California's economy without those temporary tax increases. I know the governor feels strongly about that, I know the Democratic leadership does, I as a statewide officer as well. So, we're hopeful the voters will respond positively."

Sen. Tom Harman, R-Huntington Beach: "You can't tax yourself into fiscal solvency. If that were the case, California would be the healthiest state on earth. The governor should be focusing on putting people back to work - not increasing the size of government and the tax dollars needed to support it."

Assemblywoman Fiona Ma, D-San Francisco: "Democrats are supportive of the governor's proposal. We are prepared to go to work and make the tough decisions that are necessary to balance our budget, while still protecting the services, schools and safety net for the most vulnerable Californians. I applaud the governor for asking that we move swiftly in bringing high-speed rail to California."

State Schools Superintendent Tom Torlakson: "There is too much testing. We need to thin out the amount of testing and have some tests combined so that we get the information we need - for instance, for high school graduation, ... we can figure out a way to do that so it's not just a whole separate testing system on more testing system. I like the part where he also says that he wants principals and teachers to have more power to teach. That means less preparation time on bubble tests, and less testing, and more teaching to a 21st century learning standards that we need."

Sen. Mark DeSaulnier, D-Concord: "California faces critical challenges, but I share the governor's enthusiastic outlook in overcoming those obstacles. I look forward to working with him on the state budget, high speed rail, affordable housing, education, and other significant issues."

Assemblywoman Kristin Olsen, R-Modesto: "I had mixed responses to the governor's state of the state today. I'm pleased to see, both in his budget proposal and today, he seems to be committed to continuing to reduce expenses, to streamline government and make it more efficient. And yet he's still relying on Californians passing billions of dollars in tax increases this fall. I think we've seen time and time again that voters are not willing to tax themselves more. We need to restore their trust in government, prove to them that we're spending the dollars they already to government wisely, and until we do that, I think that any proposal to raise taxes - especially one that's as high as his is - is going to fail at the ballot."

Assemblyman Jim Nielsen, R-Gerber: "Some of the irony is - have you walked the talk? The focus on the schools and giving local school boards more authority and autonomy, wow, that's great. I delight in that, I hope he means it. However, his actions do not belie that. Last year in the budget, if the trigger is now invoked to cut funding in schools, then the local districts have to bargain for the cuts. That is the worst imposition of a mandate in the last several decades. So, it's kind of hypocritical to say. 'I want to help you local government, you school boards, but I've just taken action to really hamstring you.' "

Assembly Budget Chairman Bob Blumenfield, D-Woodland Hills: "Classic Jerry Brown in many ways. ... He presented a vision of where California can be. At the same time he gave us the positive image, he gave us the harsh medicine of what we need to do. It was different than previous governors, who have sort of have been more of a show and a lot of pomp and circumstance. Jerry Brown came up and talked straight to us. His approach to this budget is also very straightforward. It's giving the people in the state the choice of what they want the state to look like in the future."

Assemblyman Richard Pan, D-Sacramento: "He talked about the strengths and assets of California that we have. I think that's really important because we spend a lot of time mired in talking about all of our problems and those problems are real -- we have a lot of economic challenges - but I think we also need to recognize that we have a lot of strengths to build on."

Sen. Joel Anderson, R-Alpine: "I want to work with Governor Brown to solve California's problems. I like his proposal to consolidate some departments and eliminate some boards and commissions. But it's hard to take the governor too seriously when he continues to ignore the utter mismanagement at his Department of Transportation. "

Assemblywoman Mariko Yamada, D-Davis: "The governor's laid out a bold and optimistic plan for our state. We have very, very serious challenges ahead. I'm looking forward to working with all of my colleagues on addressing these, but I think the concerns of our water (needs) in particular as they relate to the Delta, are certainly going to be among my top priorities. I think we need to move past pledges and work towards fulfilling promises for our future."

Sen. Sam Blakeslee, R-San Luis Obispo: "The governor's jobs plan seems limited to building windmills, levitating trains, and electric cars. He then calls on venture capitalists to jumpstart the economy while proposing to raise their taxes to the highest levels in the nation. With millions of Californians unemployed and losing their homes to foreclosure, we are long overdue for a real world jobs plan that puts people back to work."

David Miller, president, California Association of Professional Scientists: "In his State of the State address, Governor Brown renewed his call for pension reform measures targeting public servants. State scientists have done their part. During contract negotiations last year, CAPS worked with the governor to come up with pension benefit concessions for state scientists that resulted in increased retirement plan contributions for all employees and a less generous formula for new hires."

Dave Low, chairman of Californians for Retirement Security: "Governor Brown called for the Legislature to analyze, improve and pass pension reform today. We have been, and continue to be, committed to doing exactly as he asks -- evaluating California's pension system and supporting reasonable, meaningful and legal changes. We will continue work with the Legislature in its efforts to make this happen."

Dan Pellissier, president, California Pension Reform: "We applaud Governor Brown for continuing to challenge the Legislature to act on pension reform. As the governor has said, the current system is a 'Ponzi scheme' and 'the arithmetic doesn't add up.' Unfortunately, no one is holding their breath for the Legislature to do anything meaningful on pensions."



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