State of the State: Calif. comes back but challenged by drought, Brown says

Gov. Jerry Brown

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Gov. Jerry Brown enjoys a record high 54 percent approval rating among California voters as he heads into a likely re-election campaign next year after a relatively smooth state budget process, according to a new poll the Public Policy Institute of California released Wednesday.

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Updated 9:43 a.m.: Gov. Jerry Brown has delivered a dual message in his annual address to the Legislature — that a California resurgence is well under way but also is threatened by economic and environmental uncertainties.

Chief among those uncertainties is the severe drought that is gripping the nation's most populous state and already is forcing water cutbacks among many farms and cities.

In the State of the State address he delivered Wednesday, Brown says the drought should serve "as a stark warning of things to come."

Brown has delivered more State of the State addresses than any other governor in California history. His latest version was workmanlike and without surprises.

It touched on the state's turn-around from years of budget deficits to projections of surpluses, and noted his continued efforts to reduce the state's prison population and equalize public school funding.

He only briefly mentioned the $68 billion high-speed rail project that is a priority of his but has lost much of its public support.

— Juliet Williams/Associated Press

8:12 a.m.: California is facing a mixed year. The state has a budget surplus but a water shortage. Senate Budget Chair Mark Leno said Brown may tie those issues together in his speech.

“It will be interesting what he has to say because, I think, we’re all very concerned that if we don’t see rain in the next two months, it may be a year before we do," Leno said. "And that will really, dramatically, impact the state economically.”

Assembly Republican leader Connie Conway said she wants Brown to be truthful about the state’s financial condition.

“Sometimes it’s easy to work around the facts," she said. "So, for me, we have a budget surplus, but how can we say we have a surplus when we have so much debt.” 

Brown was scheduled to address a joint session of the legislature at 9 a.m. Watch live here.

— Katie Orr/Capital Public Radio


Read the annotated speech

Reporters from KQED, Capital Public Radio, & KPCC have analyzed the speech, leaving their notes highlighted in the document below.


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