George Deukmejian

35th Governor, Republican

State of the State Address

Delivered: January 9, 1986


  • 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 8, 1985
  • 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, fellow constitutional officers and fellow Californians:

    Then we met here three years ago, California couldn't pay its bills. The budget was out of balance, our people were out of work, our businesses were moving out of state and our schools were running out of money.

    But using common sense, and with consistency of purpose, we have traveled from hardship to leadership. California has gone from IOU to A-OK.

    Our schools are getting better. More Californians are on the job than ever before, and the people are served by a steady frugal government that lives within its means.

    We lead the nation in aerospace and agriculture; in manufacturing, tourism, trade and technology; in Nobel laureates and PhDs; in entertainment, energy and engineers. Our commitment to providing educational opportunities, protecting consumers, enhancing the environment, and caring for the sick, poor and disabled is unmatched.

    No wonder why pride in our state has reached a record high. California has become what it once was and must always remain – American's leadership state.

    Tomorrow, I will present a new budget that continues this leadership. Like our last three budgets, it is balanced and it contains no tax increases.

    Unexpected expenses this year have proved the wisdom of maintaining a 3.7% reserve in our budget. We must rebuild this reserve and make it our highest savings priority.

    This budget also completes an historic change of spending priorities in California. Three years ago, we ranked near the top in welfare dependency, but near the bottom in funding for education. Since then, we have enacted mandatory workfare and we made education our highest budget priority.

    As recently as eight years ago, our school received only 44% of the General Fund budget. I am proposing that we give our schools 55% in the coming year, the highest budget share in nearly two decades.

    In addition to the $17 billion provided in the General Fund budget, our schools will receive over $700 million from the lottery during the next 18 months, just as the voters intended.

    With 55% for education, we can increase classroom time; provide $14 million to stop children from dropping out; $1.5 billion for special education; again improve the buying power of teachers' pensions; and provide $100 million to replace unsafe school buses.

    Higher education will receive another substantial increase, including 7.6% for the University of California and 7.3% each for California State University and our community colleges. Our budget includes enough money to once again stop any increase in mandatory student fees.

    California must also have a sensible plan to meet our serious school construction needs. I will support legislation to encourage local participation in school construction funding, as well as a major bond measure, so that we can build more schools where they are needed.

    If California feels like a million today, it's because that's how many new jobs have been created in the last three years.

    Unemployment has dropped from over 11% to 6.5% -- the lowest in five years. More companies are bringing more new jobs to California than to any other state – and the number two state isn't even close.

    We can create additional California jobs by modifying our so-called unitary tax in a fair and sensible manner. Let's lower this roadblock to increased employment in California without further delay.

    With recovery solid, let's now build an Open Door Prosperity to meet the challenges of the international marketplace, and to make sure that all regions and residents of our state are included in that progress.

    More trade – free and fair trade – means more jobs for our people.

    Twenty-nine states now have offices in foreign capitals. California has none. The time has come to establish state offices overseas in Tokyo and London.

    These offices will help sell California – our exports, agriculture, tourism and investment opportunities – to the important Pacific Rim and European communities.

    I am also supporting a five-year, $12.7 billion transportation improvement plan which includes 1,500 projects. This year alone, we will provide $2.8 billion for state highways and nearly one billion dollars for local streets and roads.

    California's new tourism promotion campaign will be expanded. We hope to increase the supply and availability of housing with a total of $1.7 billion in loans and grants. And, we are meeting California's short term water needs with an effective strategy to increase water storage and conservation.

    Our Open Door Prosperity must also assist those regions and residents in our state whom recovery has left behind.

    Rural California is the heartland of our great state, and it must never be neglected again.

    I propose a Rural Renaissance program to help farmers and improve the economic vitality of our smaller communities. This program includes $5 million to promote farm exports; $7 million to help rural counties market their investment opportunities; and a $30 million Rural Economic Development Fund to finance public projects which are needed to win major business expansions.

    A major drain on owners of small businesses, professional people and local governments is the growing cost and scarcity of liability insurance.

    The ability of plaintiffs to recover large judgments against both businesses and government agencies, not based on the degree of fault, but on their fiscal health of our communities. Let's act this year to pay, has jeopardized the safety of the public and the fiscal health of our communities. Let's act this year to provide certainty in the law that will encourage competition and result in reasonable affordable insurance premiums.

    We must also continue to be compassionate toward the sick, the poor and the elderly.

    We will make additional significant improvements this year in services for the mentally ill and developmentally disabled. Our budget includes a full cost-of-living increase in benefits for those on the Aid to Families with Dependent Children program, and for the elderly, blind and disabled.

    I am going to fully fund our fight against that ruthless killer called AIDS. As we receive reports from the Department of Health Services and the University of California regarding additional health and research needs for AIDS, I will be prepared to propose more funds above and beyond our current commitment.

    And now, I think it's time for some plain talk about toxics.

    California and other states have a problem. Too many toxic chemicals are being dumped into the ground, threatening our drinking water – and although the state has participated in the cleanup of more than 120 sites, many other remain and they aren't being cleaned up fast enough.

    I recognized this from the day I took office, which is why we have substantially increased the money and the manpower devoted to fighting toxics. We will search for promising new cleanup technology through a nonpartisan task force I have formed.

    But that's not enough. Last year, I told you exactly what tools I needed to get the job done right – a sweeping reorganization to make our cleanup programs tougher and more effective.

    It is a good plan that was negotiated and agreed upon in good faith. It will better protect the public from toxics.

    I'm still waiting. And I cannot withhold my deep disappointment in the failure of the Assembly Democrats to give me the cleanup tools I asked for. The people are concerned about toxics and they expect action now.

    Educational excellence, an Open Door Prosperity, clean and healthy communities – these go hand-in-hand with strong California leadership in fighting crime.

    I'm pleased that in three years, over 16,000 additional violent criminals have been removed from neighborhoods and sent to state prison. With your help, we are meeting the challenge of prison overcrowding with the first major expansion program in over 20 years. More than 3,700 beds have been added and two new prisons have been opened. Work is underway on nine more.

    I am also proposing an additional increase in state law enforcement personnel, bringing our four year increase in personnel to 38%.

    I believe we should double the funds to fight youth gang violence, and nearly $17 million will be provided to expand our promising CAL-ID program, which uses computers and 21st century fingerprint technology to catch suspects like the Nightstalker.

    Since I authored the death penalty law nearly a decade ago, 24,000 men, women, and children have been willfully killed in California. Juries have, by unanimous decisions, imposed the death penalty over 200 times – yet not one killer has paid the ultimate price. The California Supreme Court has seen to that.

    The Court has reversed all but three of the death penalty cases it has ruled upon. Eleven new reversals were pushed through on New Year's Eve in the closing hours of 1985.

    As Governor, as a parent, and as author of our capital punishment law, I feel compelled to speak out on behalf of millions of fearful citizens, and for the thousands who tragically can no longer speak for themselves. I am renewing my call to the Supreme Court. Heed the dictates of justice and implement the death penalty in our state.

    Ladies and gentlemen, the new budget I am proposing provides substantial increases for education, job creation, public safety, toxic cleanup and the rainy day reserve. We have accomplished this without imposing any severe cuts.

    At the same time, the bureaucracy will be smaller than it was three years ago. And as a result of Proposition 13 and our firm stand against tax increases, California is losing its dubious distinction as one of the highest taxing states in the nation. Indexing has left $25 billion in the pickets of the people who earned it, money that would have otherwise taken away by government.

    I have spoken of California as the leadership state. This peak of excellence was not scaled by government alone. The people did the work, paid the bills and kept the faith. Government helped rather than stand in the way.

    But leadership is not a benchmark to be left somewhere in the past. Leadership is a trademark California must carry into the future.

    In 1986 and beyond, the leadership state is going to continue to build the best schools in the nation and create an Open Door Prosperity that leaves no one behind.

    The leadership state is going to foster the invention of new technology to clean up our environment and rid our communities of toxic poisons. We intend to be the first society where citizens cans start taking the locks, bars and chains off their homes instead of putting more on.

    The leadership state will continue to live within its means and spend the people's money wisely. I hope Californians have seen the last of governments that want raise their taxes and lower their sites.

    More important than anything else, the leadership state is building for tomorrow. We're not satisfied with what is. We're looking ahead for what can be.

    Fellow Californians, we share the honor of living in the best state in the greatest nation in the only world we know. Together, we have brought America's frontier back to California – and we brought California back to the future.

    There's something else very special about California. Here in this land, 26 million people from all corners of the globe and all races, religions and creeds live peacefully, side-by-side. In a world filled with bigotry and hate, where human rights are a cheap, disposable commodity, California is a celebration of humanity – living proof that diverse people can work together for the common good and treat each other with dignity and respect.

    The sun may set in California, but it will never set on California. Our hopes are as high as our redwoods. Our future is as bright as the sunshine, and our determination is as strong as the tides.

    Let's walk into the challenging future together, strong and united, and build a California for our children and grandchildren that is safer, freer, healthier, happier and more prosperous than any place on earth.

    Of all the states in the nation, of all the societies in the world, California is the land where the dreams of the most humble child are most likely to come true. Our dream is to ensure that we never lose this golden legacy.