Building a New California: The Kathleen Brown Economic Plan

The California Dream -- the idea of unlimited opportunity to invent, to build, and to prosper -- will only survive if California has a healthy economy.

But California's economy is anything but healthy. Our unemployment rate is among the highest in the nation. Workers have lost jobs they have held for twenty years. Many cannot find new jobs; still more are forced to settle for jobs that pay only a fraction of what they once earned.

Once-thriving business districts are closed down and boarded up. And millions of Californians worry about how they are going to make ends meet.

And yet, beneath all the grim statistics, there are opportunities. Twenty-one of the 100 fastest growing companies in America call California their home. Our schools, colleges and universities, while needing reform, still produce the best educated workforce in the country. Many of the world's most promising industries are centered here. And our people are yearning to lead the comeback.

The California Dream is alive, but it needs leadership -- economic leadership -- to make it flourish.

For too long, we have been without that leadership.

For three years, we have had a Governor who failed to fight for California's jobs while other states lured and courted our businesses, and who finally responded to election-year pressure by taking his first overseas trip in search of new jobs ... 1,047 days into his term.

For three years, we have had a Governor who tried to cut billions of dollars from schools, who never offered a plan to reform our schools, and who finally responded to election-year pressure by hiring an out-of-state consultant to teach him about education ... 1,029 days into his term.

For three years, we have had a Governor who talks tough on crime, but who will not support a tough assault weapons ban, or guaranteed punishment for first-time offenders, or tougher sentences for people who carry guns illegally, and who finally responded to election-year pressure by having a
crime summit ... 1,126 days into his term.

And for three years, we have had a Governor who stood by while employers knowingly hired illegal immigrants, and who finally responded to election-year pressure by writing a letter to the President ... 946 days into his term.

Enough is enough.

The election for Governor rolls around only once every four years. We can no longer afford to have a Governor who keeps the same schedule.

A Plan to Build a New California

Economic growth requires more than a few efforts aimed narrowly at job creation. Real, sustained economic growth must be:

Based on a comprehensive economic plan that fights for jobs, fights for taxpayers, and fights for business.

Grounded in a quality education system that prepares our children to compete in the modern world, provides them with safe schools, holds schools accountable for results, and restores control to teachers and parents.

Protected by a criminal justice system that hands out firm and certain punishment to those who violate the laws with tougher sentences, more police on our streets, stricter laws against gun violence, and anti-drug and anti-gang programs.

Preserved by an immigration system that celebrates the desire to prosper in our land but strictly enforces our borders and our laws against hiring illegal immigrants.

From Day One as Governor, I will be ready to take action to create jobs, break the cycle of violence, reform our schools, and stem the tide of illegal immigration. This plan spells out exactly what I will do, how I will do it, and how I will pay for it.

My plan to build a new California was developed with the help of hundreds of business and labor leaders, economists, police, prosecutors, gang prevention experts, educators, parents, immigration experts, legislators and academics. It is guided by four basic themes: common sense, accountability, fiscal responsibility, and fighting for all Californians.

Common Sense: Too often, government policies just do not make sense. They do not address the real problems, they are needlessly complicated, and sometimes, they are just wrong. Many problems can be solved with plain old common sense, and I have tried to develop a plan that does just that.

Accountability: My plan is based on the notion that people should be held accountable for their actions -- that there should be a link between someone's behavior and the consequences of their behavior. So, new tax credits should be given to businesses that create lasting middle class jobs. People who commit crimes should be punished. Schools should be held accountable for their performance. And immigration policies should target people who violate our laws, not innocent children.

Fiscal Responsibility: Elected officials have a special duty to be careful with the taxpayers' money. We need a plan that eliminates outdated or unnecessary programs, cuts administrative waste, and favors solutions that are cheaper in both the short and long term.

Fighting for all Californians: Government's main obligation is to serve the people, not the privileged few. My plan addresses the needs and concerns of all California families who are worried about their economic future, who want better schools for their children, and safer streets for themselves and their neighbors.

Leadership for a New California

For decades, California was a state on the move.

We were pioneers, courageous and innovative. We built aqueducts, roads, schools, and universities, and planned for a better tomorrow. Our investments paid off.

California's entrepreneurs started billion dollar companies in their garages; our engineers and scientists built our nation's defense; our farmers fed our own and the world; and our entertainment industry shaped our nation's creative spirit. We planned, and we grew.

Our successes led to confidence, but during the 1980s that confidence was replaced by complacency. Our leaders seemed to have only two gears -- neutral and reverse. And when confronted with hardship -- whether increased international competition, a national economic downturn, or natural disasters -- they blamed others and failed to fight for a better way.

We have had a failure of leadership. But leadership is more than just a collection of plans, programs, and policy proposals. Leadership is about bringing people together, solving problems, and getting things done.

These are qualities I have learned from my family. I have learned a great deal from my parents -- a police captain's daughter and a shopkeeper's son. And they in turn learned from their parents, the children of immigrants who came to this state with little more than their own grit and determination.

Through their words, and through the way they lived their lives, they taught me that California is not just a state. It is the distillation of all the hopes, dreams, and aspirations of a people who have always strived for more than just good jobs, good schools, and safe neighborhoods.

What we have strived for -- and what California has always been able to give us -- is a quality of life not found anywhere else in the world.

My hope for my grandchildren is a simple one: that they may live in the kind of California that I grew up in -- a California whose quality of life means promise for its children, opportunity for its workers and security for its communities.

That is my hope and my dream. Now it is my challenge.

With your help, your ideas, and your support, we can get California moving forward again.

Thank you.
Kathleen Brown


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The material included in this voter guide is archived and will not be updated. Please visit the California Voter Foundation's homepage for the most current information and resources.

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