California Governor

Gov. Jerry Brown says California has averted fiscal collapse. He calls for investing in water and rail programs, but warns: ‘Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our good intentions but the basis for realizing them.’

By Anthony York and Evan Halper, Los Angeles Times
January 24, 2013, 5:40 p.m.

SACRAMENTO — Seeking to reclaim the state’s identity as an innovator and engine of growth, Gov. Jerry Brown declared in a sweeping State of the State address that “California did the impossible” in emerging from financial crisis poised to lead again.

Brown outlined a vision for the state Thursday in remarks that were equal parts history lesson, lecture and rhetorical flourish. It includes major investment in water and rail systems, more robust trade and an education structure free of regulations that crush creativity.

Invoking California’s “spectacular history of bold pioneers meeting every failure with even greater success,” he asked a joint session of the Legislature to overhaul the way schools are funded, build a controversial bullet train and aggressively expand healthcare to millions of needy residents.

Californians “have a rendezvous with our own destiny,” he said, in an allusion to Franklin Roosevelt’s famous Depression-era speech.

At the same time, he sounded the familiar theme that the state should not try to live beyond its means. Drawing on the Book of Genesis, he recounted Pharaoh’s dreams of well-fed cows eaten by starving cows — a warning that famine can follow plenty.

“Fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our good intentions but the basis for realizing them,” he told an Assembly chamber packed with legislators, state Supreme Court justices and other dignitaries who applauded throughout the 24-minute speech.

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