Get California’s Government Working Again
The next Governor must be ready to stand against the crowd to lead a broken legislature out of a morass of poisonous partisanship. It will take old fashioned hard work, patience, and a keen understanding of the process.
I have a deep knowledge about how government functions and how politicians operate. I have seen it as a governor, as a mayor, and as Attorney General. I know how to get budgets done-balanced and on time. I have learned first-hand how stupid state regulations can stop jobs and development in cities like Oakland; and how ridiculous jurisdictional squabbles and endless rules delay the construction of new transmission lines to bring solar energy to our cities. I know how to break political log jams, both in cities and at the State Capital.
As Governor, I will ensure that money is spent carefully and that state government is operated as efficiently as possible. I have always taken a no nonsense and frugal approach to taxpayers' money.
I have a long and well deserved reputation for being cheap. The American Conservative once said I was "much more of a fiscal conservative than Governor Reagan." My philosophy has always been one of frugality and living within our means.
As Governor, I approved tax cuts that saved Californians billions in just eight years. Relative to growth in the state's economy, state government grew by a smaller percentage than under any other governor. I am the only governor to veto pay raises for state employees (I did so twice) and I even rejected my own pay raise. I was also the first California governor to propose pension reforms and a two-tiered pension system that reduced pension costs to the state for new employees. During my tenure, California built up a $5 billion rainy day fund which was crucial to preserving funding for schools, police and fire services after the voters in 1978 cut local property taxes by two-thirds.
As Mayor of Oakland, I consolidated departments, cut red tape that was blocking needed development and ran a mayor's office with a fraction of the employees that other mayors required.
As Attorney General, I have significantly reduced the Department of Justice ("DOJ") expenditures, returning more than $296 million in budget savings to the state general fund. I eliminated 800 positions, folded ten divisions into four and cut the operating budget of the Attorney General's office by nearly 10%, and significantly reduced operational expenses, including travel and overtime costs. If this year's proposed DOJ budget is adopted, the last time the DOJ will have operated with an equally lean General fund allocation was over a decade ago, in fiscal year 1997-98.