Former Gov. Jerry Brown Criticizes California’s Spending

By Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna
July 14, 2021 Updated: July 14, 2021

Former California Gov. Jerry Brown criticized the state for “spending money wildly” a day before Gov. Gavin Newsom signed a $100 billion California Comeback Plan.

“Money doesn’t grow on trees,” Brown said during a July 11 interview with NBC. “Federal government is getting deeply into debt. They’re spending money wildly. The state is now spending money, it’s not sustainable.”

He continued, “We need a more frugal sustainable prudent way of doing business. I would predict certainly within two years, we’re going to see fiscal stress.”

Brown’s comments followed the state’s $116.5 million vaccine lottery initiative to encourage residents to become inoculated, and the announcement of the proposed $100 billion spending plan in May.

“The federal government borrowed a lot of money because they don’t have enough and they showered money on the economy, and that just put checks in people’s hands, in business and they spent it,” Brown told NBC. “The state has a big share of money they never had before, but it’s artificially pumped up by one, the federal government’s stimulus, [and] number two, the growing utter inequality of the economy that the rich people make so much damn money and California happens to tax the rich people disproportionately.”

Brown further commented on the homelessness in California, saying there needs to be a bigger effort to address the crisis.

The former governor said that the state must work to distinguish between those who are addicted to substances and those who are mentally disturbed. The facilities built for the homeless must have enforced rules, including mandatory drug treatment, Brown said.

“I don’t think it’s easy,” he said. “It’s hard because you’ve got to spend more money, but you have to be willing to exercise control, discipline, [and] authority. I’m afraid people shrink back from that.”

The $100 billion California comeback plan Newsom signed July 12, includes about $12 billion to address the state’s homelessness crisis and move more people off the streets. The plan will also cover $600 stimulus checks that are being mailed out to Californian households with an income of $75,000 or less. Qualifying families with children will receive an additional $500.

“Harnessing the largest surplus in state history, we’re making transformative investments across the board that will help bring all our communities roaring back from the pandemic and pay dividends for generations to come,” Newsom said in a July 12 12 press release. “Through this comprehensive plan, the state is taking on the inequities laid bare by the pandemic, expanding our support for Californians facing the greatest hardships, increasing opportunity for every child, confronting homelessness head-on and doubling down on our work to build resilience against the climate change impacts that threaten California’s future.”

Vanessa Serna
Vanessa Serna