Gov. Jerry Brown opened his annual State of the State address with a joke about spending his $24 million of campaign cash on a ballot proposition allowing him to seek a fifth term.
The 77-year-old Democrat is barred by term limits from running for office again.
Brown delivered his 14th State of the State speech to the Legislature on Thursday.
He did not outline new programs, saying he wants to focus instead on how to pay for commitments already made.
Brown says economists can’t confidently predict the next recession, and California must be prepared to pay its obligations during the next economic downturn.
Brown is urging California lawmakers to “bite the bullet” and approve new taxes and fees dedicated to transportation.
The Democratic governor told the Legislature in his speech that it’s impossible to maintain roads and bridges without a dedicated source of revenue.
He says ideology and politics are barriers stand in the way but “one way or another, the roads must be fixed.”
Brown called a special session last year to deal with a backlog in transportation infrastructure spending, but his effort has not gained traction.
Republican Sen. Jim Nielsen of Gerber says road construction can be funded without a tax hike and the GOP won’t support one.
Tax increases require a support from a supermajority of lawmakers, so Democrats can’t raise taxes without Republican votes.
He’s beginning his sixth year as governor after he previously held the post from 1975 to 1983.