Jerry Brown and His Claims of Success

Jerry Brown made various claims and stated various goals in his State of the State Address on Monday, some of which are inaccurate, some of which are more “Governor Moonbeam.”

Brown claimed of the state budget four years ago, “The state was deep in debt–26 billion–and our unemployment rate was 12.1%. Now, the state budget, after a decade of turbulence is finally balanced.”

Not exactly. As Dan Walters wrote in the Sacramento Bee last March, “To Brown, et al, the budget is balanced because it provides enough money to pay the obligations that he and the Legislature choose to pay. But when what they choose not to pay is included, the budget is billions, even tens of billions, of dollars out of balance.” He added, “They choose, for instance, not to include a $70-plus billion shortfall in the trust fund that pays teachers’ pensions.…They also choose not to include a $60-plus billion unfunded liability for the health care of retired state employees. There’s also an unfunded liability of some dimensions for state workers’ pensions.”

Brown also claimed, that California has created “more than 1.3 million jobs created in just four years.” That may be true, but according to Forbes, “California had 293,000 fewer jobs in 2013 than at its low in 2007, a 2% decline.”

Brown boasted, “By the end of the year, we’ll be investing in long-overdue water projects and saving 2.8 billion in the state’s new protective rainy day fund,” adding later, “Soon we’ll make the last payment of the 15 billion dollars of borrowing made to cover budget deficits dating back to 2002.”

Where could that money be coming from? As the Los Angeles Times reported, “Californians pay the second-highest taxes in the nation, beat out only by New Yorkers.”

Brown spouted, “After years of under-funding and even borrowing from our local schools, the state has now significantly increased its financial support for education. Next year, schools will receive 65.7 billon, a 39% increase in four years.” That funding came from Proposition 30, passed in 2012, which according to the San Jose Mercury News, “raised income taxes on the wealthy and the sales tax on everyone.”

Of course, Brown touted ObamaCare, noting, “The state will now enroll 12.2 million people during this budget year, a more than 50% increase.” He grudgingly acknowledged, “But it isn’t free. Although the federal government will temporarily foot much of the bill, new state costs now and more so in the future, will run into the billions.”

When discussing prison overcrowding and the subsequent actions taken “to reduce the scope of the three-strikes law and change certain felonies into misdemeanors,” Brown resorted to the type of racial division and class warfare reminiscent of Barack Obama, saying, added, “we must never cease on our efforts to assure liberty and justice for all. The task is complicated by our diversity and our divisions and yes, by shocking disparities.”

Brown also bragged about California’s cap and trade system, and continued by saying, “These efforts, impressive though they are, are not enough.” He stated that he wants to “reduce today’s petroleum use in cars and trucks by up to 50%.”

His solution? “Millions of electric and low carbon vehicles.”

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