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Capitol Roundup: Brown On The Drought; More Money For Arts?

Max Pringle / CPRN

Max Pringle / CPRN

Visiting World Ag Expo in Tulare, Brown Talks Drought
As House Republicans and Senate Democrats back rival bills in Congress, California Governor Jerry Brown says he’s looking for a middle path between the warring sides in the state’s water debate.

“When God doesn’t provide the water, it’s not here,” the governor said, as he toured the World Ag Expo Wednesday in drought-weary Tulare. “But we are changing regulatory rules; we’re going to make it as best we can given some very tough circumstances.”

Brown said the needs of California’s northern, central and southern regions often conflict – which makes it hard to find water policies that satisfy the entire state.

“If Tulare was California, we’d have a very different situation,” Brown said.  “But Tulare is part – not just of California, but the country with all its federal laws and rules and judges and everybody else.  So look, if anybody can get it done, I can get it done, and I am working night and day to achieve that.”

The governor is expected to return to the Valley on Friday, when President Obama visits Fresno to discuss the drought.

State's Arts Council Wants More Money

The California Arts Council is asking for five times as much state funding as it gets now.

It’s backing a newly-introduced bill by state Sen. Ted Lieu (D-Torrance) that would set aside $25 million a year from the state’s general fund.  The council’s budget once topped $30 million, but has dwindled to just $5 million a year for much of the last decade.

Council Chair Wylie Aitken told a legislative committee Wednesday that even though the new money would just be a small step forward, it would be significant.

“We’ll take that step and make it become a leap and make that spark and that seed produce incredible results for California and frankly for the humanness that resides in all of us,” Aitken said.

Jerry Brown established the California Arts Council in the 1970s, during his first stint as governor.  Brown’s Department of Finance declined comment on this measure, but he’s repeatedly warned lawmakers against new spending despite the state’s budget surplus.


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