Gov. Jerry Brown hunkered down in the state capitol Monday making last minute touches to his State of the State speech, which lasted all of 14 minutes.
For the past several years, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger downplayed the annual address, doing a Web-only speech in the morning hours, but Gov. Brown brought it back to local news prime time.
His words (text can be found here), which were given before a joint session of the legislature, were expected to get a lot more attention than those in the rotunda. California's shaky economic future impacts the country as a whole and his budget ax is expected to hit Califorians in their personal pocketbooks.
Brown urged lawmakers to let California voters decide the direction of the state as it faces a gaping budget deficit, saying it would be "unconscionable'" for them to block his request for a special election. He said he wants a ballot measure to be voted on in June that would ask voters to
extend temporary tax increases. Brown noted in those 13 minutes that the recent political upheaval in Tunisia and Egypt was in part sparked by an urge to vote. He says lawmakers should not prevent Californians from exercising their own right to vote.
As of Monday evening, Republicans were balking at the plan.
The state of California faces a $25 billion budget deficit. Brown has said he wants to fill the gap by $12 billion in spending cuts and the other $12 billion or so in tax increases. The taxes part would only come from the before mentioned ballot measure.