Tuesday represented a milestone for Democratic Governor Jerry Brown: his first 100 days of office. This time around anyway.
Most elected officials get a "pass" on the first 100 days because the public gives them time to come to terms with their office. Even though this is Brown's second go-around in the state's top office, once again the public has been gracious.
His popularity is pretty high, given the state's state's economic malaise. So what's the grade for Brown after his first 100 days?
Let's consider his accomplishments and failures.
- On the plus side, Brown has lobbied for and signed cutting edge legislation that will require California to rely on green energy for one-third of its supply by 2020. As a result, California continues to be a leader in the anti-global warming war. This continues Brown's leadership that he exercised on green energy during his first stint as governor, 1975-1983, when many doubted the merits of the issue.
- Brown also has dedicated much of his political capital to an honest repair of the state's $26 billion budget gap. Offending many liberals along the way, he exhorted the legislature to make $11 billion in painful cuts on education and social programs.
That takes us to the minus side.
- Brown has said the budget must be balanced with new revenues as well as cuts. To that end, he has asked legislative support for an election to continue three previously legislated temporary tax increases for five years. On this score, Brown has failed to persuade Republicans to place the temporary tax continuation issue on the ballot. They argue that the remaining $15 billion can be found in the already pared down $75 billion state budget. Most experts disagree with the Republicans, but they have held strong.
So, how do we grade Brown?
- "A" for effort
- "C" for results
- "B" overall
Of course, it's early in Brown's term, and whether "B" will be good enough to keep California afloat will depend on a lot more than Brown's efforts in the months to come. At the end of the day, the legislature will be graded as well.
If nothing else, we'll see that evaluation in the form of the 2012 election results.