In his first post primary press conference, Democratic gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown told the press: "I am saying here and now for everyone to hear, including the legislators and the unions, that I am going to be an independent servant of this state, and I will do whatever it takes to get this budget aligned with the revenue."
What will it take to balance the budget? Unfortunately, the AG and former governor hasn’t told us that, yet?
Will spending be cut further on programs around the state? Will taxes be raised? I know, Brown doesn’t intend to raise taxes without a vote of the people, but that will not stop him from proposing tax measures to be put on the ballot. What kind of taxes is he thinking about? Taxes on upper income taxpayers? Or businesses?
While waiting for the vote on taxes – have to be a special election, I imagine, can’t wait two years for that sort of thing – but while even waiting one year for the special election how does he plan to align revenues with spending?
How about going the other way, and making moves on the tax and regulation front to encourage business to stay and grow in California? That can be part of the plan.
Then there is the big reform dealing with Brown’s allies in the public employee unions. Are we finally going to make progress on the pensions and benefits of public employees on the state and local level? Are we going to make sure that the programs that serve the poor and taxpayers are funded before the compensation package of the employees is made at a four-star level when compared to what workers in the private sector get?
We know these are hard choices. The current governor and legislature have been grappling with shoehorning the spending side of the budget to the revenue side for years without a satisfactory solution.
But by declaring his independence from the legislators and the unions as he pointedly did in his press conference, Brown should let them know – and us know –what he has in mind.
All Californians are curious. What’s the plan, Jerry?