Pete Wilson

36th Governor, Republican

State of the State Address

Delivered: January 5, 1994


  • State of the State Address delivered on January 9, 1991
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 8, 1992
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 6, 1993
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 9, 1995
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 8, 1996
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 7, 1997
  • State of the State Address delivered on January 7, 1998
  • Lt. Governor McCarthy, Mr. Speaker, Mr. President Pro Tem, Members of the Legislature, Constitutional officers, and fellow Californians, thank you...

    As we begin 1994, let me thank you for what you did to bring change in 1993.

    Last year, gridlock gave way to progress. In one of the most productive legislative sessions in history, we united in common purpose to promote job-creation, to remake welfare and to pass an on-time budget for a change. Newcomers and old lions joined together to make a difference.

    It was progress in the finest tradition of those giants whose memories haunt these halls.

    Unfortunately, last year those memories were joined by another giant when we lost our colleague and our friend B.T. Collins.

    B.T. devoted his free-wheeling life to public service, because he believed it was possible to make a difference in people's lives. I think he'd be proud of last year's progress. But he'd also say, "Quit slapping yourselves on the back and get back to work."

    Well, get back to work we must, because there is still much more to do. Tonight, I ask you to continue the bipartisan cooperation that marked last year to face and meet the challenges that remain as we begin this year. California needs our leadership as never before.

    The world is changing, and we can either shape change, or suffer change. We can lead or we can be led. Californians have never been content to sit back and just wait for the future. So tonight, I say: Let's take charge. Let's lead that change.

    And though we have not finished the job, we've already made major change in our state. Think where we'd be now if we hadn't.

    Without the reforms we have made to workers' comp, without reforms creating investment incentives and cutting red tape, businesses would continue to flee our state taking jobs with them. But we did make those important changes. We have reversed that flow of non-defense jobs out of California. More and more, the announcements these days are good news of new companies and new jobs for California.

    If we hadn't made tough decisions to cut spending, our budget would still be on autopilot growth.

    It would be nearly $16 billion higher than it is today. That's $1,300 more for every taxpayer in California. But we did hold the line on spending, to create more growth.

    And if we hadn't begun to reform welfare, the system would still be penalizing those who choose the dignity of a job over the dependence of welfare. But we did reform welfare to finally make work pay.

    So I salute you in this chamber — freshmen and veterans — on a year of genuine achievement. I especially thank the legislative leaders of both houses and both parties for their leadership and cooperation. You have made important changes. You put common interests ahead of the special interests and that means more jobs for California.

    Tonight, we must continue moving forward, continue building a better future for California. It's a future whose only limits should be our own imagination, hopes and tenacity.

    Let us not forget, after all, what California is. We aren't just another state. California is the place where the continent ends and the future begins. For generations, California has led the world in agriculture and education, in high-technology and popular entertainment. Californians put computers into homes across the country and food on kitchen tables all around the world.

    For sure, we've known adversity. We've been shaken by earthquakes, scorched by wildfire, battered by global recession, devastated by Washington's defense cut. But the California spirit has never been broken.

    Today, we're coming back and building the future. Our state is uniquely poised to take advantage of expanding global trade with Mexico and the bustling trading nations of Asia. We have the finest universities, the most productive workers, and the most creative entrepreneurs in the world.

    If we continue to make the right choices even though they are tough choices today, California can soar into the 21st Century.

    But right now, many Californians — quite understandably — are less concerned about the coming century, than about the security of their job today, and the safety of our streets tonight.

    The most urgent questions facing us are: How do we accelerate job-creation? And how do we slam the breaks on violent crime? The questions are related. New jobs and safe streets are the twin pillars on which we must build California's future. But employers don't bring or even keep jobs in neighborhoods that are no longer safe for their customers or workers.

    Last year, I said that we would rebuild our state job, by job, by job. That rebuilding process has begun. But to attract more jobs we must first reclaim our communities from violent crime — house by house, street by street, in each neighborhood of every town and city of California.

    Every Californian has a fundamental right not to become a crime victim... and not to live in fear. That's why I've called a special session of the Legislature, as well as convening a state-wide crime summit in Los Angeles two weeks from today.

    We must move on three fronts to make California safe. First, we need to put more police on the street. Second, we must prevent children from ever turning to crime. And finally, for those criminals who are the most serious threat to society, we must send a clear and certain message: California is through with revolving-door justice. If you commit a violent crime, you're going to do serious time.

    We know that the first and best defense against violent crime is adequate police patrolling our streets. That's why the people of California joined in passing Proposition 172, to keep cops on the street and criminals behind bars.

    But in the city of East Palo Alto, we saw what even more police working with a community could do. In 1992, that city was the murder capital of the nation. But with help from the CHP and police from neighboring communities, the people fought back.

    The murder rate in East Palo Alto has fallen by 86 percent — the largest drop in the state. The people fought back and the people are winning.

    To repeat that success story around the state, tonight I propose sending more police officers to those communities especially hard-hit by violent crime. We'll recruit and train 500 new CHP officers and place these new officers on a priority basis in high-crime areas to fight crime with local law enforcement and local communities. To the criminal on the street — our answer will be the cop on the beat.

    Swift response and a united community worked in East Palo Alto, and it can work around our state to reduce the fears felt by too many Californians.

    But to make California safe, we must also prevent children from becoming involved in gangs and crime in the first place. I remain committed to the concept of preventive government — that giving a kid a good start in life is the best ticket to a bright future.

    That's why during the past three years, despite tight budgets, we've doubled the number of children in pre-school, increased mental health counseling for young children five-fold, and expanded health care for poor pregnant women, new mothers, and infants.

    But we must continue to do all we can to rebuild the best anti-crime institution there is: a safe home with a nurturing two-parent family.

    At the California crime summit later this month, we'll explore ways to heal the problems of California's fractured families. We'll seek new incentives to keep families together, to discourage children from having children, and to require deadbeat dads to shoulder their responsibilities. We'll insist upon a simple rule: Father a child — support that child.

    We sympathize with those neglected children who are tempted by drugs or gangs. But when as teenagers or adults they victimize others, our sympathy must yield to responsibility. And our first responsibility must always be to protect the innocent, and punish the guilty.

    To make our streets safe again, we must target the most vicious criminals. Research shows us that most serious crimes are committed by relatively few habitual criminals.

    Richard Allen Davis is the most recent example. Davis has confessed to the tragic murder of little Polly Klaas. Davis is a repeat felon, a career criminal with a long, long record of habitual sordid crimes and violence. This animal should have never been let loose.

    Last year, in California more than four hundred children were murdered.

    Our streets are being stained with the blood of our children — and damn it, it's got to stop. It has got to stop.

    So I ask you, please, to work with me to pass tougher laws. We know what California needs to make our cities, our suburbs, and our small towns safe again.

    We should start with the "Three Strikes, You're Out" bill. Let's double the penalty for two-time felons, and put three-time losers behind bars for life.

    It's time to turn career criminals into career inmates.

    I urge you to make this bill law. If we fail in our duty, the people will not fail in theirs. They will qualify and pass the "Three Strikes, You're Out" initiative in November... and they should.

    But for some heinous criminals, three strikes is two too many. For those sick individuals who commit forcible rape, who molest a child, or devastate a community through arson, the first offense should be the last.

    Most arsonists and sexual predators are habitual offenders. What we need for them is a simple law: One Strike, You're In — for Life.

    Third, we need new laws to attack the growing tide of armed thugs on our streets. Law-abiding citizens have the right to a weapon for self-defense. Criminals do not. But they are not deterred by a 3-year sentence. A repeat felon with a gun is a new tragedy waiting to happen. Don't let it happen. Give him life.

    Fourth, we need to ensure that all dangerous criminals serve more of the time to which they're sentenced. For the last three years I've demanded that we slash good-time credits that allow criminals to walk free — routinely serving only half their sentence. Even murderers can now subtract one-third of their sentence for good behavior.

    That's an outrage. Worse, it is inexcusably dangerous. We can't let killers walk out of prison early just because they've done a good job folding shirts in the prison laundry.

    Yes, these reforms will mean building more prisons, and hiring more correctional officers. There's no getting around that fact. But that's a price we've got to pay. As governor, I've opened five new prisons and tonight I propose we offer $2 billion worth of bonds to build six more.

    There will be those who protest such costs. They'll complain that they would prefer to spend the money on higher education rather than more prisons. Well, so would I. But this is not a matter of choice. The cost of California's failure to keep Richard Allen Davis behind bars was paid by little Polly Klaas. Does anyone want to tell me how much a child's life is worth? Does anyone want to assign a dollar value to 400 murdered children?

    We can — we must — prevent these crimes by building the prisons we need to put violent criminals away.

    These are changes we must make. We should all be able to agree on that. There are no partisan points to be scored here. We will judge our success in crimes prevented and victims saved.

    But we also have another responsibility — that is to stimulate growth and create jobs.

    Last year, we showed that we could work together to make a better California. Your reforms are creating California jobs.

    The growing confidence of job-creators in California's improving business climate is dramatic evidence that California's on the mend. California is indeed coming back.

    But for California's comeback to continue, we must take several steps. And take them quickly. Here is what I propose:

    First, we must help small business. That's where the vast majority of new jobs in California will come. We've improved the climate for small businesses to grow in California, but we must provide an extra incentive for those risk-takers willing to start a business and help us build the new California.

    So, tonight I propose a $1,000 tax credit for each new job up to 100 jobs created by a start-up small business during a two-year period beginning July 1. I say, let's reward those Californians who have the guts to start a new business and put our people back to work.

    Second, we must continue our campaign to slash job-killing regulations — tearing away the red tape that ties the hands of California's job-creators — especially our small business men and women.

    Throughout state government, we're shrinking the paperwork burden on job creators. We've required all government agencies to issue regulations in plain and simple language — language that non-lawyers can understand.

    We're opening one-stop shops so that getting the permits needed to create new jobs doesn't become a job itself. The first two shops have opened in L.A. and Orange County, and four more will follow soon.

    And we're trimming forms that force small business men and women to spend more time doing paperwork than doing productive work. This form ((hold up form)) required of small businesses to monitor air pollution once ran hundreds of pages. We've cut it to two.

    But some of the most burdensome regulatory requirements are at the local level, so I'm proposing new incentives for local government to abolish reams of red tape.

    And to straighten out the maze of environmental rules and regulations, I ask you to join me in making California a world leader in the way we approach environmental regulation. Too often our regulations protecting our air, overlap with our regulations protecting our water, and both overlap with still more regulations. This redundant process wastes time, raises prices, and kills jobs. It's not the standards that are the problem, it's the process. We're going to work with leading experts to develop a plan to consolidate these regulations. We're going to insist they make sense.

    Third, we must promote exports. Many of California's new jobs will come from the goods and services we sell overseas. Even in these tough times, foreign trade is creating thousands of new jobs in our state.

    So tonight, I propose expanding our marketing efforts in Mexico and doubling our export financing program. Let's help California companies take full advantage of NAFTA in entering the Mexican market and creating jobs at home.

    My Administration will be holding "How to Export to Mexico" seminars around the state. We'll be working with California's farmers and ranchers, high-tech entrepreneurs and engineers, California's small business men and women... working to find new markets for California products and California produce around the world.

    Fourth, we must put California's tremendous assets — human, physical, and industrial to work.

    The world is changing and that means changes in the nation's defenses. But California defense workers deserve — they have earned — the time and resources to adapt to new industries.

    Federal defense cuts triggered half of all the jobs lost in California during the past three years. For decades California workers helped America win the Cold War. Let's be sure that now they're not left out in the cold.

    This year, the Federal Government will provide increased funds for worker retraining and technology development. We'll continue to press for California's fair share. But the real key to making this money productive is to meld worker retraining programs with local economic development efforts and, in particular, to channel it into California's emerging technologies.

    I've directed the Employment Development Department to work closely with the Trade and Commerce Agency to achieve a new synthesis that will produce real jobs in new industries.

    Californians are already using technologies that fought the Cold War to fight the war against cancer. Technologies that once built jet fighters are now building electric cars. Environmental clean-up offers a particularly exciting world-wide market for California expertise, and the prospect of many new jobs for California.

    We can use the workers and the energy that helped America win the Cold War to help California win the global competition for jobs.

    But we must also ask: At what point has our nation's headlong rush to cut defense investment gone too far.

    The world remains a dangerous place. So I ask, not just as a Californian, but as an American: When is enough enough? These deep cuts don't just threaten California's jobs, they threaten our nation's security.

    Too often it seems that for every step forward we take in California, a giant push back comes from Washington.

    It's not just that further defense cuts are idling aerospace workers. Federal water cuts are squeezing our farmers. A failed immigration policy is busting our budget. And higher federal taxes our pinching our wallets.

    In California, we've been cutting the cost of state government. In the past two years, we've reduced General Fund spending by $4 billion. We've abolished 111 unnecessary boards and commissions. We've left 22,000 state jobs unfilled and saved a billion and a half dollars in welfare costs.

    Tonight, I ask you to join me in making government even more efficient by abolishing the Energy Commission and the Integrated Waste Management Board and by trimming middle management in state government by 10 percent.

    Unfortunately, while we were cutting the cost of government in Sacramento, Washington was passing a tax hike that hit California taxpayers harder than taxpayers in 45 other states.

    As the chief economist of the Bank of America, John Oliver Wilson recently said, "You couldn't have designed a program that would have a more negative effect on California."

    Well, for middle-class taxpayers, instead of a hike, I say we give 'em a break.

    Specifically, I propose that, for California taxpayers earning less than $40,000 who will pay higher taxes under the Clinton tax plan, we reduce income taxes by an average of 19 percent for single taxpayers, 18 percent for joint filers.

    In fairness, it will offset the Federal tax hike for the 4.2 million taxpayers who can least afford to pay.

    We must continue to do whatever we can to further stimulate California's economic recovery. I am asking my Council of Economic Policy Advisors to advise how we can reduce income or other taxes to most effectively spur additional job creation.

    I'm convinced that California must go further in making our tax structure competitive. Taxes are a cost of doing business. States that tax less than California are clearly more attractive on that score. As a case in point, our reform of the hated unitary tax has won California the 700 jobs which Legoland will bring and greatly increased interest on the part of the investors with whom I spoke on my recent 17-day trip to Asia.

    Californians today are suffering more than the rest of the nation. But we can change that. No state in the Union has a greater future than California. No other state is so blessed by geography and generosity, economic dynamism and diversity, and a creative and resilient people.

    No other state is so well poised to seize the opportunities of expanding global trade and the high-tech industries of the future.

    But my friends, we must act to guarantee that future for California's children — and we can only do that by fighting crime and creating jobs.

    If we work together, we can restore California as America's pre-eminent state to live, work, and raise a family. We can ensure a California comeback.

    We're already seeing signs of that comeback. Businesses large and small around the state are responding to initiatives that together we enacted last year.

    Intel, the world's largest producer of computer chips, operates around the globe with facilities from Ireland to Israel, from Puerto Rico to the Pacific.

    But when Intel decided to expand this fall, adding more than 1,000 new jobs, where did they decide to go? California. And they cited our business reforms as the reason for their decision saying, and I quote, "these reforms have made California more competitive for new jobs and new investment."

    Intel was just one of many firms that came back to California this year. Together these firms are sending the nation a message. That message is: California is coming back.

    We've begun to build the better California we all want — a California safe for jobs and safe for families — a California full of promise and opportunity.

    I'm confident that California has a magnificent future.

    It's within our power, working together, to continue making needed change; and to hasten the arrival of California's magnificent future — to speed the day when promise becomes reality.

    We owe the people nothing less. Let us achieve nothing less.

    Now, as B.T. would say, let's get to work.