Jerry Brown, California attorney general and gubernatorial candidate, told CNBC Friday that he has a history of balancing the state’s budget, coming up with a surplus and overseeing job growth, as governor previously.
Brown was responding to criticism from his opponent, businesswoman Meg Whitman, a Republican, who said he didn’t have a plan for governing the state. Brown said it is Whitman’s plan, not his, that lacks details. He added that Whitman's only definitive idea is to abolish the capital gains tax, which could increase her personal wealth, he estimated, by $14 million. To read Whitman's interview with CNBC, click here.
“When I was governor, I vetoed pay raises for all public employees, not once, but twice,” said Brown.
Brown has a slight edge over Whitman: 47 percent versus 44 percent, according to pollster.com. Whitman told CNBC Friday that the race would be a “dogfight” to the end.
Brown, a Democrat, served two terms as governor and was also the mayor of Oakland. He said that because he has been in California politics for 30 years, he understands how the state runs. According to Brown, some 1.97 million jobs were created in California during his years as governor.
“I’m the guy who really made a budget surplus, of almost $5 billion. Now we are looking at $19 billion of deficit, it’s going to be painful, it’s going to be difficult.”
Brown stopped short of using the word liar to describe Whitman, but said it in so many words: “Ms. Whitman has constantly falsified the record of what I’ve done.”
To unknot the legislative gridlock in Sacramento, Brown added, he would meet with each legislator to get their ideas.
California has been reeling from its fiscal woes, including an outsize budget and taxes. After a record 100 days, state legislators passed its $7.5 billion budget, which included spending cuts of $3.5 billion in education. To try and close a $19 billion deficit, the state deferred some spending until 2011 and it also counted what many observers have said could be an overly optimistic projection of aid from the federal government.