SACRAMENTO — When Jerry Brown delivered his 11th State of the State speech, a record for California, he was informed, the governor momentarily put aside his prepared remarks to offer a more extemporaneous greeting.
“I used to say, ‘Take the ins and throw them out, and take the outs and put them in,’ ” Brown said Wednesday, referring to elected officials like himself. “I don’t say that anymore. My message: There’s no substitute for experience.”
And with that, Brown, who is 75, delivered a State of the State speech that marked the beginning of his expected campaign for a fourth term as governor (he served two in the 1970s), seeking at once to brag on the rising fortunes of this once beleaguered state, but also cautioning against tough times ahead as he faced a Legislature eager to use rising surpluses to restore years of cuts in spending on social programs.
In his 16-minute speech, Brown was playful and jaunty, as befitting an incumbent with a huge campaign bankroll facing no well-funded or well-known opponent. He handed out playing cards, with one side containing a chart that showed California’s history of swinging from huge deficits to surpluses; on the other were words of advice from the family dog, Sutter.
“Sutter makes a number of different comments,” Brown said, holding up his card. “On this one Sutter says, ‘Bark if you don’t like deficits.’ ”
Another: “A prudent Corgi knows to nibble at his kibble.”
The speech was as much a cautionary note as a celebration of the state’s good news. Brown took note of the drought that has gripped California, warning that he expected it to get worse given changes in the climate.
Brown also pointed out the huge debts the state faces.