I have lived in California all my life, as did my parents. And like them, I have devoted a large part of my life to public service. I care deeply about California. I know its history and its governing structure.
I served as governor from 1975 to 1983. On my watch, we built up a huge surplus by holding spending down. Taxes were reduced by $4 billion. We became the world leader in wind and renewable energy. And we created 1.9 million new jobs – a higher rate of job growth than the country as a whole.
I am running for governor because I know how to get California working again. Many of the challenges are different today, but the way forward is the same: frugality, honesty and innovation.
First, with 2 million Californians out of work, the next governor must put out the welcome mat for jobs. As a mayor, I learned first-hand how to break down regulatory barriers that deter investment and new jobs, and I will do the same as governor. For example, China and Texas have replaced us as leaders in alternative energy. I will change that and put California again in the forefront.
Second, I promise a budget that is transparent and honest. There will be no tax increases unless the people themselves approve and vote for them. I will take hold of the budget – within days of the election – and engage each of the legislators in a deliberative and thorough process. I will level with the people and set forth a budget that employs no gimmicks – no phony cuts that never materialize and no illusory revenues that never arrive.
Third, we need to change the way we govern this state. For example, we must – whenever possible – shift authority away from Sacramento and instead give local governments and school boards the ability to control their own affairs. This is the way it used to be, but in recent years Sacramento has taken on more and more power. I will fight to give schools, cities and counties the discretion they need to solve problems locally and closest to those affected.
This state can be governed. California can once again have terrific schools, safe cities and an efficient government. We can be the leader in green jobs, high tech and medical advances. But let’s be clear. None of this will be easy. It has taken us several years to get into this mess and it’s going to take several years to set things straight.
The next governor must have the preparation and know-how to get the job done. That is what I offer.
Brown is California’s attorney general and a Democratic candidate for governor.