Transcript: CA Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2014 state of the state address – Part II
Part II – Partial transcript of Gov. Jerry Brown’s (D-California) 2014 state of the state address on Jan. 22, 2014:
All right, fiscal discipline is not the enemy of our democracy, but its fundamental predicate.
To avoid the mistakes of the past, we must spend with great prudence and we must also establish a solid rainy day fund locked into the Constitution.
In 2004, the people voted for a rainy day fund, which is found to be unworkable.
In 2010, you created another rainy day fund now scheduled for the November election. But this latest effort doesn’t give the state the option to pay off its debts, doesn’t deal with the ups and downs of Proposition 98, and doesn’t account for the spikes in capital gains. So let’s fix these flaws before going back to the voters, and this is work that we knew we need to accomplish in the next few months.
…I spoke of the principle of subsidiarity – a rather clunky word that nevertheless points to a profoundly important principle, namely that in our federal system there are separate layers of government, each with its own distinct responsibilities.
The Oxford Dictionary defines subsidiarity as the idea that a central authority should have subsidiary function, performing only those tasks which cannot be formed effectively at a more immediate or local level.
No better example of this can be found in your enactment last year of the local control funding formula. This was a major breakthrough in the way funds are allocated to California schools so that our laws explicitly recognize the difficult problems faced by low-income families and those whose first language is other than English. As a result, those with less are going to receive more and that’s good for all of us.
But something else is at work in this local funding formula. Instead of prescriptive commands issued from headquarters here in Sacramento, more general goals have been established for each local school to attend each in its own way. This puts the responsibility where it has to be – in the classroom and at the local district.
With 6 million students, there is no way the state can micromanage teaching and learning at all the schools from El Centro to Eureka, and we shouldn’t even try.
Last week, 324 people from across the state traveled to Sacramento to speak to the State Board of Education about the merits of this new law and the regulations which should be adopted under it. Principals, teachers, students, parents, religious groups, and, of course, lawyers all came forward to express their views. Now, that shows interest and it shows real commitment. But their work is just beginning.
Each local district now has to put into practice what the local funding formula has made possible. That, together with a new common core standards for math and English, will be a challenge for teachers and local administrators. But they’re the ones who can make it work, and I have every confidence that they will.
In a similar vein, in the field of public safety, we’ve changed historic practices in our prison system and transferred significant responsibilities to local authorities.
The federal courts, backed up by the United States Supreme Court, have ordered major reductions in our prison population and dramatic improvements in the medical and mental health programs that the state makes available.
In response, we transferred the supervision of tens of thousands of lower level – I didn’t say low-level, I said lower-level – offenders from the state to our 58 counties.
This realignment is bold and far-reaching, but it’s also necessary under the circumstances, and local law enforcement has risen to the occasion.
Our prisons are pioneering new programs in treatments but so are the counties.
Last week, I visited the Lerdo Jail just north of Bakersfield and sat in on some classes. It was moving to hear the men’s stories and their struggles. It was also inspiring to see the enthusiasm of Sheriff Donny Youngblood in his efforts under realignment to work with probation, the district attorney, local judges, and the police to find new ways to deter crime and help offenders straighten out their lives.
Of course, there are issues with realignment, but together with our local partners, we’re facing them. We have plenty of work ahead of us, including building more capacity at the state and the county level and becoming more effective with those who suffer from mental illness or who are drug-addicted. But we’re on the right track and we want to stick to that.
In all this, your legislative work, particularly funding, is crucial. But we should never lose sight of the reality that life is local and that so many things we try to do here in the state capitol can only be handled by local representatives and leaders or the people themselves…They deal not with abstractions – the abstractions of law – but with flesh and blood reality of everyday life. That’s the lesson I learned as mayor of Oakland.