George Deukmejian

35th Governor, Republican

State of the State Address

Delivered: January 8, 1985


  • State of the State Address delivered on January 10, 1983
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 10, 1984
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 9, 1986
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 7, 1987
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 6, 1988
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 9, 1989
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 9, 1990
  • Lt. Governor McCarthy, Mr. Speaker, Mr. President pro Tem, Members of the Legislature, constitutional officers, fellow Californians:

    Two years ago, I reported that the state of the state was not good – and it wasn't. One year ago, I suggested that our condition was much better – and it was. Today, California is steady and strong, so together, isn't it about time we climbed the peak of excellence once again?

    We've come a long way. Two years ago, we faced a $1.5 billion deficit and we couldn't pay our bills. Crime was up, schools were in decline, and too many businesses were closing. Eleven percent of our friends and neighbors were out of work.

    But today, California is working again. Our economy is up. Crime is down. Our schools are getting better, and 850,000 more residents are on the job today than were working two years ago. Together, we adopted a fiscal rescue plan, enacted landmark education reforms, and the first new prison expansion program in over 20 years.

    Forgive me, but to maintain the integrity of our plan, pay off the deficit, balance the budget, and set aside a prudent reserve for emergencies, it was necessary to veto $2.3 billion in proposed spending. By doing so, we did not have to raise taxes on the people of California.

    As we begin this new year, together we can proudly say that with the use of common sense, California is respected again.

    On Thursday, I will submit my proposed budget for the 1985-86 fiscal year. I can describe this budget with words the people deserve to hear from their elected officials every year. Ours is a balanced budget and it contains no new taxes.

    Some of our critics have failed to recognize our positive policies because they have overlooked the priorities we have established in the budget, even though that one bill contains the expenditure of virtually every dollar of the taxpayers' hard earned money.

    Last year, we set aside a 3.7% reserve for uncertainties and indeed, we needed that reserve on a number of occasions. This year, we must be prepared for a possible reduction in the rate of economic growth and possibly no growth in federal funds due to the problem of the national deficit.

    So I will insist that we again allocate 3.7% of our general fund to be used in case of emergencies. We must manage the people's money wisely, and be ready for a rainy day, even in sunny California.

    One area where we are determined to shine is education. As long as I'm Governor, education will be California's highest budget priority.

    I will ask the Legislature to increase funding for all levels of education by nearly 10% . This includes more than a billion dollar increase for Kindergarten through 12th grade schools. We also anticipate some additional money from California's new lottery, although experience in other states has shown that these funds can be unpredictable. By law, most lottery funds will go directly to local school districts. I propose that those funds be used to provide our schools with up-to-date textbooks, school supplies, lab equipment and access to computers.

    Last year, we provided the University of California and California State University and College systems with their best budgets in over ten years. We raised faculty salaries, increased student aid and reduced student fees. This year I propose that salaries be raised again – by 8% at UC and over 10% at CSU. I am also proposing a 19% increase in student aid grants and enough money to prevent any increase in student fees.

    California's community colleges also play an essential role in our education program. The modern day mission of our community colleges is now under intensive review and debate. While we await the results of this study, we will not jeopardize the quality of our community colleges. I will ask the Legislature to increase total funding at these campuses by 8.6%

    California's renaissance in education funding and reform is perhaps the most significant change in state policy in this decade. Just consider that in our first three budgets, we will have added $10 billion in new money for all levels of education, over and above what was provided in the last year of the previous administration. The people approve of this substantial investment because they want better education for their children. However, they will continue to support increases of this size only as long as they see results.

    Education is fundamental to our agenda of opportunity. So is the right to be safe from criminals.

    Last year, you seemed very pleased when I told you that I had appointed 54 common sense judges to the bench. Well, I'm pleased to report that I have now appointed 163 judges who will be as concerned about the rights of victims as they are about the right of the accused.

    We're not resting easy because the crime rate is dropping. In our first two years, we boosted the number of state law enforcement personnel by over 20%. I am asking for an additional 7% increase this year. I will also propose new measures and funds to help women who have been tragically victimized by domestic family violence, as well as new enforcement tools to combat child abuse. And once again, on behalf of the overwhelming majority of voters, I am calling upon the California Supreme Court to implement our state's death penalty law.

    The United States Supreme Court has ruled that capital punishment is constitutional. Juries, by unanimous verdicts, have convicted and imposed the death penalty on over 170 murderers since 1977. During these past seven years, many innocent people have been murdered, but not one murderer has paid the ultimate penalty. Our California Supreme Court should give great deference to the vote of the people and the laws passed by the Legislature. The people have been patient long enough.

    California is not a new state anymore. The basic foundation upon which we live and work is burdened by a growing population. I'm reminded of what Yogi Berra said when he was asked if he wanted to have dinner at one of New York's most popular restaurants. He said, ‘Naw, no one goes there anymore. It's too crowded!'

    We need a statewide partnership for progress to rebuild California – our roads, schools, water systems, sewers, parks, jails and public buildings. Some call this infrastructure. Some call it public works. To me, it is an essential investment in our future. Our people need more jobs, so we must expand California's capacity for responsible growth.

    For the state's part, we are investing $25 billion over six years. This includes, in 1985-86, the biggest single year of state highway construction commitments in our history. We will also seek legislation to encourage innovative methods of meeting local needs such as bond pooling, lease purchase and private construction. Our administration is also prepared to work with the Legislature and local governments to determine the best way to allow localities with special unmet needs to proceed with their projects.

    Excellence also requires more attention to California's quality of life. All the prosperity in the world won't make us happy if our environment is allowed to deteriorate.

    In just two years, we have committed more money than ever to project endangered species in their natural habitats. We have acquired 750 acres of sensitive land around Lake Tahoe. We negotiated unprecedented protections for our coast during offshore drilling. We supported setting aside more than a million acres of California wilderness land to preserve their resources and beauty for future generations.

    I have signed tough new measures, passed by the Legislature, to improve water quality. We've implemented stricter vehicle emissions standards and by successfully managing the smog check program, we expect to achieve a 25% drop in automobile-caused air pollution by 1987.

    We are also succeeding in the supply of affordable energy for Californians without harming the environment. I am pleased to announce that agreements will soon be signed, as a result of our efforts, to secure low-cost hydroelectric power from our neighbors in the Northwest. This historic understanding breaks a decade's old impasse, and could save our citizens up to $250 million a year in energy costs, or more than $5 billion over the term of the agreement.

    Despite this progress, a great challenge remains: We must protect our state from the unsafe disposal of toxic wastes.

    In the past, California's response to this danger has been inadequate. We have substantially improved that response. In our first two years, we cleaned up more sites, launched more inspections and levied more fines than in all of the previous eight years.

    But much more must be done. I will ask the Legislature to appropriate all of the $100 million in bond revenues approved by the voters last November, so that they can be used for cleanup without delay. With these funds, at least 10 more sites can be cleaned up this year and removed from the state's superfund list. We plan to add more than 100 new staff positions to aid in the toxics control and cleanup effort.

    In addition, within 100 days, I will submit to the Commission on California State Government Organization and Economy, and ultimately to the Legislature, a reorganization plan to create a new Department of Waste Management. We can no longer continue to dispose of waste using outdated methods and we must coordinate the state's regulation in this area. This department will be responsible for the cleanup and disposal of waste, including hazardous toxics, and encourage the development of the new technology we must have to rid our society of this growing and dangerous burden.

    The unsafe disposal of toxic waste is the most serious public health problem facing our society today. It developed over a long period and it will not be resolved overnight. However, our efforts must be bipartisan, swift and organized. The health and safety of our children depend on it.

    A society's greatness is measured not only by the triumphs of the strong, but also by our capacity to help those who need our help. My budget devotes $8.5 billion of our general fund in the coming year to assist the poor, sick, elderly and disadvantaged, an increase of 8% over this year's budget. This includes maintaining a 45% increase in the number of home meals served to seniors that we are achieving this year, as well as a 14% increase for our community mental health program and a 12% increase for our regional centers for the developmentally disabled.

    I'm also very pleased to report that last year, California received full accreditation of our state hospitals for the developmentally disabled. There is only one other state in the nation that has achieved this goal. Now, our next goal is full accreditation of all our state mental hospitals by 1987, and we expect to be the only state in the nation to reach this important milestone of humanity.

    My fellow citizens, as we meet tonight, California is number one in aerospace, agriculture, trade, and film production. We're the number one destination for tourists and new businesses. We're first in national forests and state parks. First in high technology and manufacturing. We're number one in PhDs, Nobel laureates, and I can't leave this out, we're first in gold medal Olympic athletes!

    The list is long and impressive, but it's far from complete.

    I want California to have the very best schools in the nation. We should be the first to say, we cleaned up all of our unsafe toxic dumps – every single one.

    And let's be the first state where citizens can start taking the locks, bars and chains off their homes instead of putting more on.

    I'd also like California to be the first to say that we have only the government we truly need, and not one tax, regulation, or bureaucrat that we don't need. That's why we aren't going to raise taxes. We've repealed or reformed 6,000 regulations, and we've reduced the size of the state bureaucracy.

    And why not be number one in the way we recognize people as unique individuals, full of potential, just as America promises? A state that makes equal opportunity a reality instead of a slogan or a quota – that declares in our society we don't care whether you a black or white, Asian or Hispanic, man or woman, or whether your family has been in this land ten weeks or ten generations.

    Greatness lies ahead of us if we reach for these challenges together. That's what our common sense agenda of opportunity is all about. Let's proclaim to the world that, yes, California is back — but we're not going to rest until we have the best schools, the cleanest environment, the safest communities, the most opportunities and a job for everyone who wants to work.

    Let's climb that peak of excellence, and this time, let's leave no one behind. We've been on top before. Now, let's go for the gold again.

    Thank you very much.