Brown's vision for this year encompasses some very lofty goals, including addressing the state's transportation needs with the costly high-speed rail project, embracing President Barack Obama's Affordable Care Act and fixing the Delta to meet the state's ever high demand for water.
High on the list is education reform. Brown wants to dramatically change how supplemental funding is calculated for schools. His plan is to direct more money to schools with high poverty rates and a large number of limited English-speaking students.
Regarding higher education, Brown said the key is to do more with less. He got the biggest applause when he spoke of keeping college degrees affordable.
"The key here is thoughtful change, working with the faculty and college presidents. But tuition increases are not the answer. I'm not going to let the students of California become the default financiers of our colleges and universities," Brown said.
Republicans generally liked what they heard but are worried about the costs of large projects.
"That's a conundrum, because here's a guy who talks about fiscal restraint, and he's ramping up the budget 25 percent in the next three years," said Senate Minority Leader Bob Huff (R-Diamond Bar).
Brown also spoke of the state's employment rate, saying California is getting jobs back at a faster pace than the national average. He talked about the new Office of Business and Economic Development, which works with companies to create more job opportunities in Southern California.
The governor also touched on two major infrastructure projects: his controversial plan to build massive tunnels to move water through the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to the south; and breaking ground this year on the proposed high-speed rail line.
Brown said his water project is intended to avoid possible consequences from major disasters that could make the sea level rise. His said his proposal includes two tunnels 30 miles long and 40 feet wide, designed to improve the ecology of the Delta, with almost 100 square miles of habitat restoration.
As for high-speed rail, Brown pointed out the different phases of his transportation proposal, saying breaking ground this year would be the culmination of something he signed over 30 years ago.
Thursday's address was his third since reclaiming the governor's office.