Brown vows to battle California budget deficit as governor

California Governor-elect Jerry Brown speaks to supporters as he celebrates his win during an election night party at Fox Theater on November 2, 2010 in Oakland, California.
California Governor-elect Jerry Brown speaks to supporters as he celebrates his win during an election night party at Fox Theater on November 2, 2010 in Oakland, California. Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

Fresh off his big win last night, Governor-Elect Jerry Brown promised Wednesday morning to immediately get to work on solving California's budget problems.

Brown said that the huge state deficit is "very daunting." In the period between now and the time that he's sworn in, Brown said that he wants "to learn, to study, to forge relationships" so that he will be ready to tackle the deficit.

Brown said he has "a lot of enthusiasm and optimism" about dealing with what he called "a very broken process."

After attending a funeral tomorrow in San Diego for a police officer, Brown said he plans to head straight to Sacramento to speak with legislators from both parties. Starting Sunday, Brown plans to take a week off before returning to Sacramento the following Tuesday.

Brown said he's going to look for every piece of waste or low priority spending in state government.

He repeatedly pointed out the difficulties ahead, saying that "there will be difficult discussions" and "we will have to make tough choices."

"We've been living with smoke and mirrors," Brown said, "and a certain unreality about what government is and what we want to pay for and what we don't want to pay for."

As he did during the campaign, Brown said that he would not support any new taxes unless Californians vote for them.

Brown said that the coming budget process, going after the deficit, will be "transparent, exhaustive and inclusive."

He talked about how divided Sacramento is and said that it will be his job "to find some unity." He said he'd also be happy to meet with representatives from independent business groups.

With banks still reluctant to lend, Brown said that he would be happy to see if there are ways he can get them to loosen up credit.

Whitman was "very gracious" when she called him, according to Brown, and she congratulated him and offered whatever help she could provide. Brown joked that California could use some of her money to help plug the deficit.

On Proposition 19's defeat, Brown said it was "further than people wanted to go" and that Californians "were afraid of making such a wholesale change."

He was asked about only serving one-term; Brown said that he never said he would serve only one term and that it would be "presumptuous and a little silly to talk about what I'm going to do four years down the road."

He talked about props: He talked about how Prop 21 lost and how Prop 22 passed and Prop 26 passed

With Proposition 21 failing, which would have added a vehicle fee to help state parks, Brown said that the electorate was in "no mood to add to their burden."

Proposition 22, which limits the state's ability to borrow money from local governments, and Proposition 26, which requires a two-thirds vote from state lawmakers to pass new feeds, both passed. Proposition 25, which changes the requirement from a two-thirds majority to only a simple majority for lawmakers to pass a state budget. Brown said that the message voters sent with these propositions is that they want to make it easier for the state to pass a budget, but they're also saying "don't pick my pocket."

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