Brown avoided questions about whether he was in Arizona for his week-long vacation, but his first day back in Sacramento was full of meetings, mostly about the budget, now estimated to have a $25 billion deficit over 18 months.
Brown supports Schwarzenegger's call for a special session to tackle part of the shortfall.
"We have one governor and one governor at a time and I think it's important that each one, while they're at their post, do everything they can to deal with the state's problems," said Brown. "I would hope the legislators, even while they're not in session, will be working on how to deal with that. So there is a special session and that's a great opportunity to do things."
True to his frugal reputation, Brown's budget meeting was in the attorney general's office, turning down a downtown office space the Department of Finance had arranged. Brown's spokesman says people better get used to that.
"The governor will have a staff, I would say considerably smaller than the current governor's staff, and we'll see how that plays out," said Brown spokesman Sterling Clifford.
Brown also plans on keeping the costs down for his inauguration Jan. 3.
"There's been a lot of talk about Jerry Brown's legendary first inauguration," said Clifford. "It was a pretty simple affair and I think that's consistent with who he is as a person."
All the frugal talk signals a much different era than Schwarzenegger's, whose glamorous celebrity lifestyle often meant grand things.
We already know of one person advising the Brown transition team -- John Mockler, one of the authors of Proposition 98, the voter-approved measure that dictates education funding. Education takes up more than half of the state's general fund.