Update 2012: Here’s the full text of Brown’s 2012 speech (pdf). (At least as he prepared it — it doesn’t include ad libs.)

Original post

Here are the video, audio and full text of Governor Brown’s first State of the State address of his third term.

Full audio of the State of the State address[audio:http://ww2.kqed.org/news/wp-content/uploads/sites/10/2011/01/stateofstate.mp3]

The California Report special State of the State presentation, hosted by Scott Shafer.

Full text courtesy of the governor’s web site:

Thank you Lt. Governor Newsom, Speaker Perez, President Pro Tem Steinberg, Senate Republican Leader Dutton, Assembly Republican Leader Conway, constitutional officers, members of the legislature, distinguished guests, and my fellow citizens:

First of all, I wish to thank all of you in this chamber for the cordiality and good will that you have extended to my wife and me during these opening days of what will be an extraordinarily difficult and wrenching legislative session.

California faces a crisis that is real and unprecedented. Each of us will have to struggle with our conscience and our constituencies as we hammer out a sensible plan to put our state on a sound fiscal footing, honestly balance our budget and position California to regain its historic momentum.

Although our state’s economy has started to recover, we will not create the jobs we need unless we get our financial house in order. It’s absolutely essential that we do our work boldly and without delay.

My intention is to make California again a leader in job creation, renewable energy and state of the art efficiency, innovation of all kinds and a solid primary and secondary education. Our universities are world renowned and I intend to see that they continue to enjoy the respect of students and scholars throughout the world. We also have to restructure our criminal justice system, carefully realign state and local government functions, and streamline state government. All of this can happen if we find the courage and summon the will to tackle our budget deficit head on and deal with it honestly and without purpose of evasion.

This is not a time for politics as usual. The stakes are too high. Our overall financial system, which came close to absolute breakdown, has not fully stabilized. Where we go from here—either more austerity or more stimulus—is hotly contested. Even the cause of the mortgage meltdown remains in dispute.

Voters are clearly telling us that our state and our nation are going in the wrong direction. Yet, our two main political parties both in Washington and in California are as far apart as I have ever seen them. Still, I know that politics is at the heart of democracy. It is the essence of our structure of freedom and the way in which we as a people make our collective decisions. We owe it to ourselves and to our forebears—and to our children–to rise to this occasion, do what is right and regain the public’s trust. Kicking the can down the road, by not owning an honest budget, is simply out of the question.

If you are a Democrat who doesn’t want to make budget reductions in programs you fought for and deeply believe in, I understand that. If you are a Republican who has taken a stand against taxes, I understand where you are coming from.

But things are different this time. In fact, the people are telling us–in their own way–that they sense that something is profoundly wrong. They see that their leaders are divided when they should be decisive and acting with clear purpose.

We are still a very rich society. In two years alone, Californians will have added more than $100 billion to their personal income. Yet, our State’s credit rating is the lowest of the 50 states, unemployment is higher than the national average and some journalists are calling California a “failed state.”

The times call out for vision and for discipline. Discipline so that we live within the revenue which the state collects each year, and Vision so that we rise above mere party, act as Californians first, and put our trust in the people.

Under our form of government, it would be unconscionable to tell the electors of this state that they have no right to decide whether it is better to extend current tax statutes another five years or chop another $12 billion out of schools, public safety, our universities and our system of caring for the most vulnerable.

Let me read to you, Article 2, Section 1 of the California Constitution:
“All political power is inherent in the people. Government is instituted for their protection, security and benefit, and they have the right to alter or reform it when the public good may require.”

When democratic ideals and calls for the right to vote are stirring the imagination of young people in Egypt and Tunisia and other parts of the world, we in California can’t say now is the time to block a vote of the people. In the ordinary course of things, matters of state concern are properly handled in Sacramento. But when the elected representatives find themselves bogged down by deep differences which divide them, the only way forward is to go back to the people and seek their guidance. It is time for a legislative check-in with the people of California.

At this moment of extreme difficulty, it behooves us to turn to the people and get a clear mandate on how we should proceed: either to extend the taxes as I fervently believe or cut deeply into the programs from which–under federal law–we can still extract the sums required. Unfortunately, these would most probably include: elementary, middle and high schools, the University of California, the California State University system, prisons and local public safety funding, and vital health programs.

My plan to rebuild California requires a vote of the people, and frankly I believe it would be irresponsible for us to exclude the people from this process. They have a right to vote on this plan. This state belongs to all of us, not just those of us in this chamber. Given the unique nature of the crisis and the serious impact our decisions will have on millions of Californians, the voters deserve to be heard.

Do I like the choices we face? No. I don’t. But after serious study of the options left us by a $25 billion deficit, the budget I have proposed is the best I can devise. If any of you have other suggestions that you think are better, please, share them with us. After all, we are in this together.

In recent days, a lot has been made of the proposed elimination of redevelopment agencies. Mayors from cities both large and small have come to the capitol and pressed their case that redevelopment is different from child care, university funding or grants to the aged, disabled and blind.

They base their case on the claim that redevelopment funds leverage other funds and create jobs. I certainly understand this because I saw redevelopment first hand as mayor of Oakland. But I also understand that redevelopment funds come directly from local property taxes that would otherwise pay for schools and core city and county services such as police and fire protection and care for the most vulnerable people in our society.

So it is a matter of hard choices and I come down on the side of those who believe that core functions of government must be funded first. But be clear, my plan protects current projects and supports all bonded indebtedness of the redevelopment agencies.

From the time I first proposed what I believe to be a balanced approach to our budget deficit – both cuts and a temporary extension of current taxes – dozens of groups affected by one or another of the proposed cuts have said we should cut somewhere else instead. Still others say we should not extend the current taxes but let them them go away. So far, however, these same people have failed to offer even one alternative solution.

As I have said before, I have not come here to embrace delay or denial, but to get the job done. If you have solutions that are truly viable, by all means present them. We need everyone’s best thinking.

Wherever I look, I see difficult choices. But I also see a bright future up ahead and a California economy that is on the mend. When we get our budget in balance, California will be in a strong position to take advantage of its many assets and its strategic location on the Pacific Rim. As the countries of Asia and south of our border continue to thrive and expand their trade, our state will play a leading role, as it always has, and reap unimagined benefits.

We have the inventors, the dreamers, the entrepreneurs, the venture capitalists and a vast array of physical, intellectual and political assets. We have been called the great exception because for generations Californians have defied the odds and the conventional wisdom and prospered in totally unexpected ways. People keep coming here because of the dream that is still California, and once here, their determination and boundless energy feeds that dream and makes it grow.

When I first came to Sacramento, Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak had not yet invented their personal computer. There was no wind generated electricity, and we didn’t have the nation’s most advanced building and appliance efficiency standards as we later adopted. Of course, Yahoo, Google, Facebook and Twitter did not exist—not even in someone’s imagination.

California’s economy has grown from less than 200 billion dollars when first I came to this rostrum to now over two trillion dollars expected this year. California has been on the move—a marvel, even a miracle and some kind of gift.

Yes, I will work with you on the issues—from water and realignment to healthcare and prisons, to agriculture, schools, environment and transportation. We must also face the long term challenge of ensuring that our public pensions are fair to both taxpayers and workers alike. Finally, at a time when more than two million Californians are out of work, we must search out and strip away any accumulated burdens or unreasonable regulations that stand in the way of investment and job creation.

But let’s not forget that Job Number 1 – make no mistake about it – is fixing our state budget and getting our spending in line with our revenue. Once we do that, the rest will be easy—at least easier because we will have learned to work together and earned back the respect and trust of the people we serve.

I look forward to working with all of you.

Thank you.

Complete Audio, Video, Text of Gov. Brown’s State of the State Address 18 January,2012KQED News Staff

  • Bruce Miller

    I thought KQED’s responsibility would be “equal time” for Republicans. Between Brulte and the other two stooges in the Legislature (who woodenly read their speeches), it must have been way beyond the 14 minutes (your count) that Gov.Brown spoke (that included time for jokes and other slack…). This is hardly ” equal time” but knee-jerk placation of the Republican point of view (still a small minority by registration). What about “declined to state” (when votes register). Who speaks for them?

  • Joann Johnson

    I think the politicians have not looked closely enough at the reason why people rejected the last few budget solutions. Personally, I voted against them because they were gimmicky, and voting for them would put those gimmicks into the budget process permanently. We don’t want gimmicks. We want the budget mess fixed (no loans, no escape clauses).

    I actually like what Brown has done so far. I know a lot of it is symbolic, but it’s necessary symbolism. Much better symbolism than sleeping in one’s office, sponging (literally) off the taxpayer in electricity, water, and food.

    Havign a mother who uses medicaid, I am concerned about the impact of proposed cuts on her care, but I also know that if we don’t get the budget in control, those cuts may go even deeper.

    We’re in deep doo-doo, and we all need to get serious about getting out of it. That will include paying more taxes and cutting spending. As long as no one suggests taking out more loans, I’m on board.


  • J Sebastian

    The politicians are way out of touch, because they are elites. Brown is an elite (as were all of the contenders for the job), and the current legislature is elite. These are not regular folks. Regular people wish to be left alone and pay for the services that they use, and not pay for illegals, and not pay for bloated salaries so that cops and firefighters can be compensated like Silicon Valley CEOs, while they themselves are unable to accrue any meaningful amount of retirement funds.

    Cut spending? Yes. Hell Yes. Do you people realize that of this $25B hole, that $15B of it is spent on people who aren’t even supposed to be here in the first place? They are illegals, they are foreign nationals, meaning they are full citizens of other countries with the full privileges available to them under that system. Why are we paying their bills?

    When you get these vacuous speeches like this one, it is infuriating because it demonstrates how out of touch and how not “by the people” this government is. It exists to serve itself, and that is wrong. Fundamentally broken.

    CA is most certainly a failed state, the most failed in the country. Not a rich state, but one that is probably not even in the top 20 for household wealth (real wealth, not “income” which fails to account for cost of living). Everything about CA is sub-par: education is broken, transit is broken, energy is broken, insurance is broken, its all broken. The entire thing across the board is dysfunctional and ineffectual.

    Where else but in CA could a pension system rack up half a TRILLION in unfunded liabilities?

  • Andy Hansen

    I find Jerry Brown’s tone and message encouraging, if bracing. Other than some Above-the-fruited-plain rhetoric, I found him pragmatic, sober and logical. I think it’s interesting that he’s committed to taking the issue to voters, since California voters have repudiated so many Executive budget plans in the past; apparently, he thinks his chances are better with the People than merely with legislators, and maybe he’s right. I’m guessing that a central measure of Brown’s success in negotiating greater fiscal responsibility and stability will be that he leaves EVERYONE honked off to some degree. I could live with being one of those honkers, if it improves California’s future. Sometimes “you gotta take your medicine,” and posturing and resistance to necessary but unpleasant medicine aren’t useful.

  • Bob

    Gov. Brown presents a realistically clear, if not detailed, picture of our current situation. He asks that our elected representatives work for the people, not their respective party (read:lobbyist) loyalties. He’s a pragmatist in a time when that’s exactly what we need, and I believe he is the best hope we have. Look, none of us enjoy paying taxes. Nor do we like paying the electric bill, but we do so because the alternative is far worse than shelling out the cash. Now, it’s time to pay the state’s bills, and that includes keeping our public safety workforce well manned, our tireless, even heroic teachers paid and motivated to stay in their jobs, and our transportation systems progressing. Will it cost me hundreds of bucks, or even thousands? Sure. It’s the price of living the life I do, where the roads are well-repaired and kids learn the value of knowledge, not the street price of drugs. Okay, so I don’t get the nice refund to buy a new TV. But at least there’s less chance someone will break in and steal the one I have.

  • Tuan Nghiem

    I would like to hear more from the governor about making our government work better for the people. How does he reduce the govenment waste by removing the REALLY BAD, IRRESPONSIBLE, CORRUPT employees of the state and counties ? All of us know of a few of these bad apples that are working in the government but not serving the people. When umemployment is so high in the private sector, it makes me so mad to see government employees abuse the system by not doing their job. May be someone would start setting up a public web site for the people of California to report these abuses. We need the state employees but not the ones who don’t do their own jobs.

  • Herbert Garten

    The Governor’s speech, simple and direct is a breath of fresh air to me. Yes, the Legislature which is and has been at loggerheads, owes it to us to decide how to finance our way to recovery.
    I am really amused by some of the above comments. Our 25 billion dollar problem cannot be blamed on immigrants or on state employees who don’t do their jobs, or on high state salaries and pensions. These may contribute a tiny amount. However, the main problem is that our state expenditures are not matched by our income, that the Federal Government will not continue to help us bail, and that heavy cuts and high taxes are the only way to solve our fiscal problems. All fair-minded citizens must understand this. Governor Brown certainly does.
    Taxes are the way we pay for the services we cannot render for ourselves and the help we want and need to render to the more unfortunate among us.

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