Twenty-seven years after leaving the Governor's Office and two days after winning election to a historic third term, Gov.-elect Jerry Brown returned to the Capitol on Thursday, calling the state budget crisis "daunting" and pledging a bipartisan effort to resolve it.
"It's certainly as bad as anyone – as it's ever been," Brown said after meeting with state finance officials.
While offices on K Street were being prepared for Brown to manage his transition into the governorship, the 72-year-old former governor met with Democratic and Republican legislative leaders Thursday afternoon.
Next year's budget deficit could be $12 billion to $15 billion, said Assembly Speaker John A. Pérez, D-Los Angeles.
Brown's closely watched appearance at the Capitol – including a news conference in Room 1190 – was his first public move to re-establish his presence in Sacramento, and he expressed an intent to collaborate with lawmakers.
"It almost feels no different than when I left," said Brown, governor from 1975 to 1983 and the current attorney general. "(Room) 1190 has remained the same."
One difference Brown may find is that the Legislature – even one controlled by Democrats – can be a more difficult body with which to negotiate, as it's widely considered more partisan and impersonal than when he was last governor.
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