California Gov. Jerry Brown has delivered another message of fiscal prudence in his 2014 State of the State address.
"We can’t go back to 'business as usual,'" Brown told lawmakers at a joint session of the California legislature in Sacramento.
"Boom and bust is our lot and we must follow the ancient advice, recounted in the Book of Genesis, that Joseph gave to the Pharaoh: Put away your surplus during the years of great plenty so you will be ready for the lean years which are sure to follow," he said. "Most governors and legislatures – in modern times – have forgotten this advice. This time we won’t do that."
He also called on Californians in every part of the state to conserve water to deal with the drought he declared last Friday.
"It is imperative that we do everything possible to mitigate the effects of the drought," Brown said, adding that it would be "a tall order" to do so. In addition to water conservation, he said regulators must quickly move to voluntarily transfer water to where it's needed the most.
However, he only obliquely referred to his controversial proposal to build two tunnels underneath the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to transfer water to Central and Southern California.
Brown tied the drought to global warming, saying that even though it's unclear how much the current lack of rain stems from climate change, "we can take this drought as a stark warning of things to come.
Absent from the governor's speech this year was a major policy proposal such as last year's overhaul of California's school funding formula. But he did put forth a big defense of that formula, which has come under criticism from some education groups as its regulations are implemented for lacking strict enough accountability measures for each school district.
"With six million students, there is no way the state can micromanage teaching and learning in all the schools from El Centro to Eureka – and we should not even try," he said.