Letters to the Editor: Why California was so lucky to have Jerry Brown before the coronavius outbreak

Then-Gov. Jerry Brown speaks during an interview in Sacramento on Dec. 18, 2018.  (Rich Pedroncelli / Associated Press)

To the editor: The fact that the state is in relatively good financial health at the start of the coronavirus crisis, allowing Gov. Gavin Newsom to respond to it forcefully, is thanks to Jerry Brown, who in his last budget gifted California with an $8.9-billion surplus.

During his first two terms as governor in the 1970s and '80s, Brown warned that the state needed to save money for a rainy day. He was roundly criticized by Republicans, who claimed that it wasn't his money, it was taxpayer money. The resulting line of Republican governors (along with Democrat Gray Davis) then proceeded to run deep deficits, something that wasn't eliminated until Brown's third and fourth terms.

Those of us of a certain age remember a time when the GOP was the party of fiscal responsibility, something that changed with the deficit spending of Ronald Reagan.

Was "Gov. Moonbeam" a visionary liberal? Without question. But he was also a fiscally responsible liberal, the result of which is a state that today faces this unprecedented threat with its fiscal house in order. Would that President Trump could say the same.

Ronald O. Richards, Los Angeles