That darned liberal Jerry Brown took away one of Dennis Daugaard's talking points when he erased California's budget deficit two years ago. What's California's governor up to now? Just like Governor Daugaard, Governor Brown has a balanced budget. Like Daugaard, Brown is urging restraint. But here's what "restraint" looks like in Jerry Brown's California:
- A 39% increase in state aid to education over four years. (Governor Daugaard's proposed $414 million in state aid to K-12 schools is 22.4% more than his FY2012 budget.. but remember, that was the austerity budget. Compared to five years ago, Daugaard's FY2016 budget increases state aid to education by 9.9%.)
- A new Local Control Funding Formula that directs more money to districts with more "students from foster care, low-income families and non-English-speaking parents" to address the primary factor affecting academic achievement, economic disparities. (Governor Daugaard continues to fund schools on flat headcount, only adjusting for sparsity/economies of scale.)
- A successful cap-and-trade carbon market that is helping California meet its goal of getting one third of its electricity from renewable sources by 2020.
- New policy goals of increasing renewable energy to 50% and reducing vehicle petroleum use by 50%.
- A new focus on producing distributed energy and creating more resilient micro-grids to power towns when regional power systems go down (hey, Steve Hickey! How about including micro-grids in your "Long Economic Winter" planning?).
Governor Jerry Brown laid out big stuff in his fourth inaugural address, visionary stuff. Maybe Governor Daugaard will surprise us with his second inaugural address this weekend or his State of the State Address to open the 2015 Legislature on Tuesday. But so far, Daugaard has given us a care-taking vanilla budget. His biggest initiatives of the past month have continued the state's shouldering the costs of business without advancing any substantively new vision for solving South Dakota's problems.