California governor seen addressing drought, economy in speech

Gov. Jerry Brown points to images showing the snow depth in the Sierra mountains on Jan. 13, 2013, left, and Jan. 13, 2014, center, while declaring a drought state of emergency in San Francisco, Friday, Jan. 17, 2014. With a record-dry year, reservoir levels under strain and no rain in the forecast, California Gov. Jerry Brown formally proclaimed the state in a drought Friday, confirming what many already knew. Brown made the announcement in San Francisco amid increasing pressure in recent weeks from the state's lawmakers, including Democratic Sen. Dianne Feinstein. (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)By Sharon Bernstein SACRAMENTO, California (Reuters) – California Governor Jerry Brown, in his state of the state speech on Wednesday, is expected to address problems of drought and economic recovery while continuing to call on fellow Democrats to embrace fiscal restraint. He is likely to address such issues as the drought plaguing the notoriously thirsty state, as well as California’s recovering economy and budget, said Mark Baldassare, chief executive officer of the Public Policy Institute of California. “I think he’ll speak to both the immediate and long-term issues facing the state.” This month, Brown took a stern line on fiscal restraint when he released his $107 billion budget plan, potentially inviting a fight with some progressive state lawmakers of his Democratic Party who want to restore spending on social programs cut during the long economic downturn. Key issues facing the state as it emerges from the economic slump include the cost of higher education, the quality of California’s once-vaunted public K-12 schools and an ongoing struggle over conditions in its massive prison system.

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