by Dan Brekke and Jon Brooks
Gov. Jerry Brown visited San Francisco’s James Lick Middle School today to campaign for Proposition 30--his measure to impose temporary sales and income taxes to raise money for the state’s schools and colleges. KQED News reporter Aarti Shahani asked the governor about critics who question whether Proposition 30 is wise when Sacramento is having a hard time tracking its state park money, and in light of expenditures like committing billions of dollars in bond funds to high-speed rail.
Brown shot back that the state knows where the park money is--and that it will be going to parks. And then he really got rolling, taking the long way around to say government needs to be able to handle more than one ambitious project at a time.
Here's the must-listen-to sound:
Wait. We know where the parks money is. And we got $54 million good dollars that we're gonna spend helping parks and off-road vehicle paths and all the rest.
And you know what? I'm going down today to Jet Propulsion Laboratory and watch them move the rover on Mars. Should we bring the rover back and do something about the California budget? I mean, we have to be able to jump rope, chew gum, and do five other things, otherwise we're not gonna make it. We got to invest in roads!
Do you know that right today they're building a tunnel over there at the Caldecott, over there in Oakland, to make it easier to get to Orinda? Maybe we should fill it in and put the money somewhere else.
I mean, the fact is, this is a big state, we got a lot of big things to do. This is not kind of a one-handed, one kind of thought here. We're a complex state with almost two trillion dollars of wealth that the people generate every year.
So yes, we can do high-speed rail, we can have our parks, we can have our space program, we can pave our roads, we can paint our schools--we can do that.
Now, we have to have some balance, and I'm there as governor to say no when no needs to be said. And that's what I tell the people of California: I'll veto the excessive spending bills, I'll ferret out waste wherever I find it, but at the end of the day, we have our flaws and our warts, and that's no reason to punish the children of California. It's rather a reason to invest.
Wow. There's an embarrassment of riches there for our "S*** Jerry Says" feature. Hard to know where to start...
By the way, Aarti Shahani's question was probably a good one. From the Chronicle's Politics Blog today:
Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax-raising Proposition 30 is in positive but shaky territory...according to a poll released Wednesday by the Policy Analysis for California Education (PACE)/USC Rossier School of Education. The poll found that among likely registered voters, 55 percent of those surveyed are in support of Prop. 30 while 36 percent oppose it...
[But] the poll found the governor’s measure is quite vulnerable to arguments already being used by opponents, namely that leaders in Sacramento have been irresponsible with tax money by approving high speed rail, giving raises to some staffers in the Legislature and by not knowing about the millions of dollars hidden by the state parks department.
Here's the full poll.