Gov. Brown’s 2017 State of the State Ignores Housing, School Disasters

John Seiler
Former Editorial Writer at the Orange County Register

Gov. Jerry Brown’s 2017 State of the State address, given Jan. 24, ignored what most Californians would regard as the state’s two biggest problems: lack of housing affordability and the dismal state of K-12 public schooling.

He rhapsodized about how welcoming California is to the immigrants streaming in here: “In California, immigrants are an integral part of who we are and what we’ve become. They have helped create the wealth and dynamism of this state from the very beginning…. California has enacted several protective measures for the undocumented: the Trust Act, lawful driver’s licenses, basic employment rights and non-discriminatory access to higher education. We may be called upon to defend those laws and defend them we will. And let me be clear: we will defend everybody – every man, woman and child – who has come here for a better life and has contributed to the well-being of our state.”

“Defend” them – but not house them or give their kids decent educations. Brown refused to take the needed actions to make housing more affordable: Repeal the California Coastal Commission, reform CEQA, end local zoning that prevents home construction.

On education, he did say, in his laundry list of his accomplishments, “Increased – by tens of billions – support for our public schools and universities.” But what good is throwing more good money after that already badly spent on public schools? The NAEP test put California students “near the bottom” of state rankings.

Brown only has thrown more money at the teachers’ unions for member higher pay, perks and pensions. He even opposed the students in the Vergara case, in which a state court rejected, as discriminatory, current practice in which the worst teachers are directed to schools with minority children. Brown appealed the ruling, and won – dealing a blow to all those immigrant children he’s welcoming.

Brown, predictably, challenged President Trump’s changes in federal “climate change” policy. Brown said, “Our state is known the world over for the actions we have taken to encourage renewable energy and combat climate change.

“Whatever they do in Washington, they can’t change the facts. And these are the facts: the climate is changing, the temperatures are rising and so are the oceans. Natural habitats everywhere are under increasing stress. The world knows this.”

Although he didn’t use the phrase “global warming,” he did say, “temperatures are rising.” And what the “world knows” is it wants more development to lift Third World peoples into the First World of prosperity. Does he think the presidents of China and India even are listening to his address? And with “climate skeptics” in the White House, the world is going to put global-warming alarmism – or whatever it’s called now – on hold for four to eight years.

On the state’s crumbling infrastructure, he cheered on Trump’s pledge of $1 trillion in new building. Brown quoted Trump, who said, “We will build new roads, and highways, and bridges, and airports, and tunnels, and railways all across our wonderful nation.”

Brown said, “And in this, we can all work together – here in Sacramento and in Washington as well. We have roads and tunnels and railroads and even a dam that the President could help us with. And that will create good-paying American jobs.”

But the reason California needs federal help is the state keeps squandering road taxes on lavish pay, perks and pensions for state workers. Most recently, it boosted the car tax $10 a vehicle to fund lavish CHiP pensions – even if the CHiPpies move out of state so they can drive their $100,000 SUVs on smooth roads.

But California might not want the “deal” Trump is selling: Largely private projects, paid for with private funds the state’s legislative kleptocrats couldn’t touch. And with ex-Californian Andy Puzder as Secretary of Labor – Carl’s Jr. is moving its HQ to no-state-income-tax Tennessee – California might even be forced to use non-union labor in construction.

Call it the Luck of the Browns. The governor’s last two years in office will be a smooth ride. His limits on spending will be enough to prevent deficits as higher revenues gush in from the Trump Boom. With his June budget and that of June 2018, Brown will have billions in new revenue to play with, doling it out to those special interest that show him proper obeisance.

After he leaves office, the next governor likely will spend way too much, even without a recession, much like Gov. Gray Davis did during the dot-com boom of 1999-2000. Eventually there will be another recession, and the $30 billion deficits will return with a vengeance. By then, it might even be $50 billion.

So Brown will enjoy vast applause two years from now as he rides in an electric car into the sunset at his ranch. After him, the deficit deluge.

29-year Orange County Register editorial writer now writes freelance. Email: [email protected]

Comment on this article


Please note, statements and opinions expressed on the Fox&Hounds Blog are solely those of their respective authors and may not represent the views of Fox&Hounds Daily or its employees thereof. Fox&Hounds Daily is not responsible for the accuracy of any of the information supplied by the site's bloggers.