At his recent press conference introducing his last budget, Governor Jerry Brown pointed to a chart indicating a future his successor in office might face as “darkness, uncertainty, decline and recession.” Brown was echoing the theme he brought to every budget introduction press conference that a recession is inevitable and would hit the state coffers hard. Therefore, he argued, there is a need to max out the state’s Rainy Day Fund.

Brown is right on this one. The laws of economics are immutable. A day of reckoning for the state budget will come and the state should be ready. But Brown will get pushback from Democrats in the legislature who would rather spend some of that money than jack up the Rainy Day Fund.

A push for a Rainy Day Fund to offset economic downturns came about after the Great Recession. A rainy day proposal was included along with a temporary tax increase offered by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2009 as Proposition 1A in a special election to confront the impact of the recession on the state budget. I was all in on that proposal creating the fund and even accepting the short-term tax increase but it was defeated at the polls.

Voters passed a longer-term tax increase in 2012 as Proposition 30 and the Rainy Day Fund came along as Proposition 2 in 2014. This time it passed. The fund could ultimately reach 10-percent of the General Fund.

Brown’s proposal would add $3.5 billion in 2018-19 on top of the mandatory $1.5 billion into the Rainy Day Fund bringing the account’s balance to $13.5 billion, thus hitting the 10-percent mark of the General Fund.

In its review of the governor’s budget, the Legislative Analyst’s Office approved adding to the Fund writing, “We believe the Governor’s continued focus on building more reserves is prudent in light of economic and federal budget uncertainty.”

Legislators who are not satisfied with the spending outlays in the new budget will want to get their hands on some of the billions of dollars above the mandated deposit in the fund. You can see that desire for more spending in the emerging tax increase proposals at a time when the state is flush with money. But increased taxes and increased spending will only mean a greater budget collapse when the next recession hits.

The wisdom of Brown’s decision to fully fund the rainy day reserve will only be affirmed when the inevitable recession hits. But as history has shown California has suffered 10 recessions since the end of World War II. Another will come.

Of course, all the rhetoric about spending and reserves ignores the issue of unfunded liabilities the state faces with pension and health care costs. But, the governor sent some money to deal with that liability and waits for court decisions to increase any action on that front.

In the meantime, as Brown points out, the way our tax system works makes it certain that big dips in the budget will accompany a recession. It’s best to be prepared.