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Few surprises in Brown’s State of the State

Posted: January 25, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: January 25, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Gov. Jerry Brown delivered a State of the State address Thursday that was heavy on soaring rhetoric but largely repeated his well-known policy priorities, ideas he hopes will shape his legacy as he begins the second half of his term.

Education reform, high-speed rail and the largest upgrade to the state’s water-delivery system in decades top an ambitious — and expensive — agenda.

The Democratic governor delivered his address just months after voters approved his Proposition 30, which raised sales and income taxes temporarily and is expected to generate $6 billion a year in additional revenue.

Brown used much of his speech to congratulate voters and lawmakers for having an optimistic vision of California. The state, he said, “has once again confounded our critics.” He promised an end to the deep budget deficits that have plagued lawmakers and governors for most of the decade.

“Against those who take pleasure, singing of our demise, California did the impossible,” he said.

Santa Clarita Valley-area elected representatives — most of them Republicans and champions of fiscal conservatism — joined with like-minded representatives from around the state praising Brown’s call for restrained spending; “We have promises to keep,” the governor told both houses of the Legislature.

But three of them also expressed disappointment at what they said was a lack of proposals to boost jobs in the Golden State.

California must begin paying down the “wall of debt” accumulated over many years, said Assemblyman Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, who issued a statement saying the speech “lacked any real plans for promoting job growth.”

Still, he struck a conciliatory note.

“I am committed to partnering with the governor to reduce the state’s massive debt obligations,” Wilk said. “If Gov. Brown addresses the debt, protects public education and continues to hold the line on spending, he will have an ally in me.”

Sen. Pete Knight, R-Palmdale, also called for stronger job support.

“It is essential that we continue to cultivate an environment for job creating, putting Californians back to work,” Knight said.

“The challenge before California remains the same: growing private-sector jobs,” said George Runner, member of the Board of Equalization and a former legislative representative for the Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

“It is too early to celebrate California’s recovery,” Runner said. “Millions have yet to experience it.”

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