George Deukmejian

35th Governor, Republican

State of the State Address

Delivered: January 6, 1988


  • 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 9, 1986
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 7, 1987
  • 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 Tempore, Members of the Legislature, fellow constitutional officers, ladies and gentlemen.

    When we met here last year, we were joined by a courageous public servant of great distinction. This year, our friend, Jesse Unruh, is not with us, and we miss him. But his dedication to the craft of politics and his commitment to California lives on in our hearts and our minds.

    Jess wouldn't have wanted us to linger on the past, and I won't do that today. Yet, I would like to thank this legislature for making 1987 a year of productive partnership in the State Capitol.

    I am hopeful that in 1988 we will continue to work on the same team: team California. The place to begin is by confirming a new state treasurer, a man of unquestioned integrity, intelligence and fairness, Congressman Dan Lungren.

    As we look at the state of the state tonight, we see a California that has never been stronger, a state that continues to outperform the rest of American and most other nations.

    We recently passed Great Britain to become the sixth largest economic power in the world. In fact, 28 million people of California out-produce the one billion people of China.

    In the 1980's, California alone has created more jobs than all of Western Europe. Even though our population has grown by 3.5 million people since 1982, the unemployment rate has been cut by more than half, to its lowest level in 18 years.

    California continues to be a powerful magnet for the best and the brightest. Since 1977, over half of all the computer chip companies opened anywhere in the world, opened their doors right here in California. We are home to three of America's top five graduate schools and five of the top ten electrical engineering schools. More engineers and scientists are working here than any other state -- in fact, we have more than the next two states, New York and Texas, combined.

    If our economic vitality gives us an unmatched leadership edge, so does our strategic location as the tide of progress and prosperity sweep westward to the Pacific Rim. No one is in a better position than California to compete in the growing economies of Asia, Mexico and Canada which together, represent a three trillion dollar market that is growing at the rate of three billion dollars a week.

    California is clearly more than just a state. We are a super power of prosperity. If I may paraphrase the title of that classic Jimmy Stewart movie which many of us saw again during the holiday season – 'It's a wonderful state.'

    Yet, it was Will Rogers who said, "Even if you are on the right track, you can still get run over if you just stand still."

    We will not stand for standing still. While California can congratulate itself for all it has achieved, we must not allow the applause ringing in our ears to drown out the approaching footsteps of the competition. Today, we face stiff competition not only from other states but from other nations.

    Tough competition is not our only challenge, so is growth. When I first came to Sacramento as a new member of the Assembly, New York still surpassed California in population. But by the year 2000, we will have 33 million residents, which will be double the population of New York. For us, it's not a question of growth vs. non-growth. It's a question of solutions vs. solutions as to how growth can be handled without losing our prosperity or sacrificing our quality of life.

    So as California approaches a new century, I see no cause for either excessive complaining or complacency. The opportunities awaiting us have never been greater. But the challenges confronting us have never been tougher. Our mission is to keep California on top in a world of growth and competition. With common sense policies from government, and a 100 percent commitment to quality from the people, California can enter the new century as America's high performance state.

    We must begin at the beginning – in our schools. In our past five budgets, we have increased funding for our K-12 schools by 65 percent at a time when enrollment increased by 11 percent. Tomorrow, I will submit a new budget to the legislature which contains nearly $1 billion in new general fund support for K-12 schools. However, these schools will receive $1.7 billion in new funds from all sources resulting in the highest level of support per student in California history, even after adjusting for inflation.

    We must prepare for the fact that by the year 2000, we will have 1.4 million more students to educate than we do today. Therefore, I am, proposing that we double our original commitment to school construction bonds in 1988 from $800 million to $1.6 billion.

    Yet the future of our school depends not just on the quantity of cash, but on the quality of the commitment to learning.

    Last month, California's Commission on Educational Quality found that student performance is suffering in a number of school districts that lack clearly defined learning goals. To correct this, the Commission recommended that the state develop a new, high performance curriculum, along with an innovative assessment system, to assure that schools are doing their job. If schools consistently fail to perform, the Commission recommended that the state Department of Education intervene and provide guidance, up to and including the appointment of a state trustee.

    The Commission also found that there is room for improvement in the way many schools manage and use their fund. It recommended that schools be required to develop long range financial plans that anticipate change sin reenrollment and contain prudent reserves.

    I support these reforms, and have discussed them with Superintendent of Public Instruction, Bill Honig, who also supports them. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that Superintendent Honig and I will cosponsor legislation to implement them.

    My budget also funds better training and testing of new teachers, continuing education for existing teachers, additional instructional time for students through expanded summer school, and other measures to improve student performance.

    There's something else we must do for our young people. If you are a qualified student, willing to work and study hard, then we are going to make sure that you can get a quality college education, regardless of financial background.

    With additional increases in my new budget, we will have boosted out six-year support for our three systems of higher education by more than 60 percent. Student aid in our six budgets has been raised over 70 percent, and the total number of students receiving grants will top 73,000 in the coming year.

    We cannot invent the future for our children and grandchildren, nor should we try. But we can and we must give our younger generations the foundation they need to build their own lives and create their own future. That's why education has always been my highest budget priority, and it always will be.

    The forecasters tell us that by the year 2000, we will be sharing the road with an additional six million and trucks.

    I have already proposed a 40 percent increase in highway construction funds to expand our already excellent system of transportation. This proposal has passed the state Senate with overwhelming bipartisan support. I respectfully request the Assembly to do the same as quickly as possible so that we can keep California rolling ahead. In addition, my new budget contains the funds to hire an additional 1,200 Caltrans engineers and personnel to speed up work on the 1,500 highway construction projects we have planned throughout.

    Yet it is not enough to simply pave over our transportation challenges of building new roads and freeways. We must build new bridges of innovation to make better use of the system we already have.

    In state government, we have an extensive program to encourage ridesharing and flexible work hours among our employees. I am calling on the private section and local governments to follow this example. We will also be working with the business community to explore additional incentives for reducing employee traffic as well as reducing the volume of commercial vehicles on our freeways during peak hours.

    We will also making greater use of innovative technology to create smoother traffic flow. Road sensors and closed circuit monitors will enable authorities to respond to traffic problems more quickly and divert motorists from congested routes.

    California has one of the best transportation networks in the world. Our challenge, through the comprehensive program I have outlined, is to replace high-tension highways with high-tech highways. Californians deserve a transportation system that is free of roadblocks and violence.

    We are not only determined to improve the flow of traffic, we are going to increase the flow of trade. This year, we will expand the marketing activities of our trade offices in Tokyo and London, increase our participation in the world's trade shows, and provide more funding for our successful export finance program.

    In addition, we must recognize that the future of Mexico is vital to the future of the United States. If our trading relationship can play a role in boosting the Mexican economy, we are helping America. That's why we intend to open a trade, investment and liaison office in Mexico City by the end of the year.

    Our initiatives in transportation and trade will make California more competitive, and that means more jobs for our people. We also want to ensure that productive work carries with the satisfaction of a decent, living wage. I have supported an increase in California's minimum wage, and I am very pleased that the Industrial Welfare Commission has voted to raise California's minimum wage to $4.25 per hour, the highest minimum wage in the nation. As usual, California is the pacesetter. I will urge the Congress and the President to follow our lead.

    All modern societies face the challenge of toxics. Since 1982, we have increased the funds devoted to toxic cleanup and enforcement by over 470 percent, with a 100 percent increase in personnel. Over 150 sites have now been cleaned up.

    My new budget includes further funding increases, enabling us to proceed with a five-year plan to begin cleaning up over 300 additional hazardous waste sites throughout California.

    I want California to be a leader, not only in quality and prosperity for the able but in compassion for the disabled, the disadvantaged, the sick and the aged. Over 31 percent of our new general fund budget, and over $24 billion dollars in combined state and federal funds are devoted to this purpose.

    Clearly our most daunting health challenge is to fight the deadly killer called AIDS.

    This year, California will spend over $63 million dollars to fight AIDS – nearly 50 percent more than New York, the state with the highest AIDS caseload. In addition, we are spending an estimated $30 million dollars in Medi-Cal for AIDS patients and $8 million dollars for Medi-Cal use of the drug, AZT. We are the only state that supports vaccine research and development.

    I am proposing further funding increases for AIDS in our new budget, with the intention of considering legislative proposals to determine whether any additional resources can be effectively used.

    We seek nothing less than to free society from the threat of AIDS. We are equally committed to freeing our citizens from the terror of violent crime.

    With my appointment of over 500 new, common sense judges, we have greatly restored public confidence in the criminal justice system. But we must still work hard to make our communities safer. In the past five years, with bipartisan support from the legislature, we have opened 11 new correctional facilities and added nearly 17,000 beds to our state prison system. In our new budget, I am proposing that we hire over 2,200 new public safety personnel, and I will be proposing a substantial new bond issue to build more prisons and put more criminals behind bars.

    Some see prison overcrowding and look for alternatives to incarceration. Currently, 35 percent of convicted felons are sent to state prison. The remaining 65 percent receive alternative sentences. We should not consider further alternatives to incarceration, so long as there are hardened criminals who will not consider alternatives to crime.

    As California reaches for its full potential, vigorously challenged by both growth and competition, we must not overlook a critical ingredient: protecting our fiscal stability. Some view fiscal restraint in government as a roadblock to progress, but they've got it backwards. A responsible government that lives within a reasonable limit is a prerequisite to progress.

    Fiscal irresponsibility leads to deficits and Gramm-Rudman style cutbacks in services. As Abraham Lincoln said, "You cannot bring about prosperity by discouraging thrift. You cannot strengthen the weak by weakening the strong."

    California is no longer a high tax state. The fact that 34 other states are raising taxes while California is giving money back is a mark of distinction that has drawn more jobs to our state and helps us beat the competition. And with consumer confidence somewhat shaken by the October decline in the stock maker, our $1.1 billion rebate to California consumers provided the perfect tonic for continued prosperity.

    Tomorrow, I will submit a $44.3 billion state budget, 6 percent higher than the current year. I'm proud to say that this budget is highlighted by what has become for California a traditional trio: a balance budget, a prudent reserve and no general tax increases.

    So although the high-tax advocates disagree, we choose the common sense wisdom of living within our means, not the pie in the sky vision of expensive dreams. As long as I'm Governor, California, unlike the federal government, will never succumb to the fatal attraction of excessive spending.

    Ladies and gentlemen, California has no reason to fear the future, if we face the future with reason. We have every reason to keep turning our faces toward the warm sunshine of optimism, so long as we turn our attention to the hard realities of competition and growth.

    For the blessings of history and geography, we offer thanks. For the rewards of a strong economy and a responsible state, we take satisfaction. For the challenges of the future, we take heart. For in our hearts, we know that the greater the challenges, the greater California's determination to meet them.

    There has never been a better time to be a Californian – not only because of what we have accomplished, but because of what can still achieve. Economically and historically, the sun is now rising in the West. With our strength, our wonderful diversity and our ideal location on the Pacific Rim, California can indeed become America's greatest country on earth shine with golden opportunities for all of our people. The best is yet to come.

    Thank you very much.