Brown: California has growing surplus but challenged by drought


Brown began his 11th State of the State address with some good news. California is on an economic comeback.

"And what a comeback it is. One million new jobs since 2010, a budgetary surplus in the billions, in the billions," Brown said.

Despite the lack of rain, Brown wants to establish a rainy day fund for that budget surplus.

Sen. Ellen Corbett, D-Fremont, agrees things are getting better, but they're not perfect.

"We are having a comeback in the East Bay and things are much better, but it's very important to point out that there are still people who are struggling. Poverty is still an issue and joblessness is a problem," Corbett said.

Brown remains committed to building a controversial $68 billion high-speed rail system from San Francisco to Los Angeles and wants to push forward a $25 billion plan to build two tunnels diverting water around the Delta to the south.

For now, California's drought crisis remains a top priority. The governor wants everyone to conserve water.

"It's a tall order, but it is what we must do to get through this drought and get ready for the next one," Brown said.

Central Valley Republicans want quick action for the water emergency.

"Let's do something. Standing around and talking about it has left us where we are today, which is literally, I guess this is very trite, but up a creek without a paddle," Assm. Connie Conway, R-Visalia said.

Brown's $154 billion spending plan includes modest increases for social services and schools. Brown wants to give local districts more control how money gets spent.

"We have a lot more money going to local schools, which I think is exciting and I think it's what people want. We just got to make sure it actually gets to the classrooms and gets spent right," Assm. Phil Ting, D-San Francisco said.

Brown passed out playing cards to the legislature with a picture of his dog saying bark if you hate deficits.

He hasn't announced that he's running for re-election, but a lot of people say Wednesday's speech sounded like a campaign preview.

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