Edmund G. Brown Jr.

34th Governor, Democrat

State of the State Address

Delivered: January 5, 1978


  • State of the State Address delivered on January 7, 1976
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 6, 1977
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 16, 1979
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 10, 1980
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 8, 1981
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 7, 1982
  • Before I talk of the year ahead, a though about the past. It was a good year.

    Despite prophecies of disaster, poor business climate and water and energy shortages, our state experienced an economic boom unparalleled in the nation. By the latest federal statistics, almost one-half million new jobs were created in this state and the people of California did this with half the energy growth rate of five years ago. Our minimum wages were higher than the national average. Our commitment to senior citizens, our encouragement of women, minorities, handicapped citizens set a model for the other states. Our laws protecting the environment were tough. New cars sold in California are now twice as clean as those sold elsewhere. Management of our coastline and beaches protects no only development today but the enjoyment of future generations. Our laws requiring nuclear safeguards have achieved worldwide significance.

    This is California. A good environment, a healthy economy, and a commitment to fundamental equality. But as a people, we are too young to look back and stand still with the achievements of the moment. It is time to build for the future. The list of challenges is long.

    1. First, homeowners and renters are getting discouraged. They want relief. The rapid economic growth has driven up the assessment and the property taxes of millions. Before this month is out, you should put on my desk a billion dollar property tax relief measure. It should place tight limits on local government and permanently curb runaway property tax increases and do so without new across-the-board taxes. To make this possible, and at your request, I am calling you into special session at 1:30 p.m. for the sole purpose of enacting such a property tax relief measure. In addition, before the year is out, I will ask you to abolish the inventory tax. It will not only help business, it will provide jobs and ensure that the economic momentum we have will not be lost.
    2. Next, crime. I will ask again for new prisons. It is impossible for judges to hand out tough sentence if there is no place to lock people up. More effort will be spent on controlling gangs, and new laws will be required to protect society from mentally disordered and violent offenders. And while we incarcerate those who break our laws, we must provide better opportunities to work and to learn skills that will allow them to become productive citizens upon their release.
    3. Job training. Despite large sums of federal and state money, too many young people have no marketable skills and no sense of work and little opportunity to develop. To correct this, I propose a 50-percent increase in our apprenticeship programs. On-the-job training under the guidance of management and labor has worked well in the construction trades and now must be expanded into new fields such as agriculture, health, and other white collar jobs. Within five years we can triple our present apprenticeship programs.
    4. Economic development. The key to our economic success is the unique blend of our natural environment, high technology, and a genius for risk and innovation. California doesn't look back, it breaks new ground – our efforts to conserve water and energy conservation makes new jobs possible. Protecting our agricultural land now will serve the next generation when millions more people look to the abundance of our fields.
    5. One quarter of our richest forest land lies dormant even though trees use solar energy better than any manmade device. Accordingly, I propose an initial five-year program of reforesting 300,000 acres. This will ensure future timber production and provide immediate jobs in a hard-pressed section of our economy.
    6. California has prospered because of our climate and our plentiful supply of energy in the form of oil and gas. AS these finite resources diminish, it is essential that this state invest in the future by insuring new energy supplies. You have already started with the new 55 percent solar tax credit. But more is needed.

      I propose that substantial sums of state funds be invested in developing new technologies that will provide energy from coal gasification, geothermal, solar and biomass conversion.

      We can protect our quality of life for future generations if we join with private enterprise and the federal government to develop the tremendous untapped energy potential of our state.

    7. When I talk of space, I don't think of movies. I see the future of our species penetrating the universe. This year I propose the state invest $5 million in the practical application of satellite technology for communications and monitoring of our natural resources.

      For the University, I have set aside funds to enable the faculty to establish a space institute.

      The space shuttle built in California marks the beginning, not the end. It has the same potential as the transcontinental railroad when that brought together the two ends of this continent. It is opening up new possibilities in space.

      In the eighties I see the University and our aerospace industries leading the world in both exploring and using space for the enhancement of life on earth.

    8. Finally, I turn to mental health. Our hospitals have been troubled and our communities have lacked the resources to care for the growing number of mentally ill and disabled citizens. Many of you have seen this coming for a decade. One has worked longer and with more perseverance than all others. Frank Lanterman, this is your last year in the Legislature and may it be the year of mental health. I will support substantial increases for state hospitals and for new and expanded care in the community: to provide after-care, to provide sheltered workshops, psychiatric intervention teams, and the budding of a truly integrated human mental health system.

    1977 has been good to most of the people of this state. Personal income increased about twelve and a half percent; our economy outpaced the rest of the nation – most of the countries of the world. We are emerging as a world center. We are part of a pacific culture united by history and geography with the emerging sector and part of this earth. We are a trading center. We can't shrink back from that into some kind of isolation. We have to recognize products. We also export our culture and our ideas.

    California has always been on the cutting edge, the cutting edge of new ideas. A great University, a great Legislature, and an honest government. I want to see it that way. I want to build for the future. I want to invest in it. What we do this year will affect people for decades to come, and I see over the years ahead a growing emergence of the people and the institutions of this state. People all over the world are looking at what we are doing. You have been in the forefront of many things. The ideas that we formulate into law come not just from governor or from one legislator or from one year, but the accumulated wisdom and hard work of the people who have come before us, and will come after us. It is a very exciting time. It is a difficult time. We are a state of diverse people, diverse lifestyles. In that diversity, I see a strength. In the conflict, in creative tension between the Legislature and the Executive Branch and the Judicial Branch, I see protection of our fundamental liberties and I see a great strength for the future. In the year ahead, I want to work with you and I want to make it a year to be remembered for decades to come. Thank you very much.