Governor Jerry Brown joked during his State of the State address Thursday that he could stick around past his term limits by funding a ballot initiative to legalize a fifth term in office.
Brown is currently serving an unprecedented fourth term.
According to Southern California Public Radio (KPCC), Brown began by joking that he was surprised that he has been governor of California for so long. And then, the kicker: “Unless I take my surplus campaign funds and put a ballot initiative on the November ballot to allow fourth term governors to seek a final, fifth term.”
The audience burst out in applause and laughter, to which Brown reacted with, “That’s a light note,” which ushered in more cheers and applause.
However, Hoover Institute Research Fellow Bill Whalen told KPCC, “If the governor wanted to do it, he could do it.”
Brown is currently sitting on a surplus of $24 million in unspent campaign funds that could be used to back an initiative of his choosing. And while Whalen suggests a fifth term could be mere fantasy, Brown has the power to affect change in almost any direction he chooses as a result of his overflowing war chest.
Also during his State of the State address, Brown proposed raising California’s already sky-high taxes to pay for the Golden State’s $77 billion in deferred road maintenance projects.
We have no choice but to maintain our transportation infrastructure. Yet, doing so without an expanded and permanent revenue source is impossible. That means at some point, sooner rather than later, we have to bite the bullet and enact new fees and taxes for this purpose. Ideology and politics stand in the way, but one way or another the roads must be fixed.
Rumors had also been thrown around suggesting Brown could jump into the presidential race. However, Breitbart News Editor-at-Large Joel B. Pollak received confirmation from Brown this week that a Brown run would not be happening, despite the turmoil in the Democratic ranks. “No, that’s not in the cards, unfortunately,” Brown said, in a message relayed by his office.
Follow Adelle Nazarian on Twitter @AdelleNaz.