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The new governor will release his budget proposal for the coming fiscal year next Monday, when he is expected to deliver voters a series of stark choices. He said his budgets would not contain “smoke and mirrors,” an apparent reference to spending plans signed by Mr. Schwarzenegger over the past few years that often contained accounting gimmicks and unrealistic revenue assumptions as a way to balance the budgets on paper.

He promised his version would be painful.

“It’s a tough budget for tough times,” he said.

Mr. Brown was engaged in the budget problem even before his official swearing-in, visiting lawmakers and finance experts frequently and holding town-hall sessions in Sacramento and Los Angeles to discuss the health of California’s finances and public school system.

Mr. Brown is the son of former two-term Gov. Edmund G. Brown and has spent a lifetime in politics, including terms as the secretary of state, attorney general and mayor of Oakland. He also will be calling upon a set of skills learned outside the political arena as he tries to negotiate with a Legislature that has grown increasingly partisan and, in many cases, hostile.

His years practicing Buddhism in Japan and working with Mother Teresa in India may come in handy as he tries to broker deals with dug-in lawmakers. Term limits in the Legislature mean many of them have little experience and are eyeing their next office with every vote they take.

He preached a spirit of bipartisanship to solve California’s many problems but also said he would not have patience for those who drew lines in the sand.

“At this stage of my life, I’ve not come here to embrace delay and denial,” he said during his speech.

Mr. Brown became only the second person to serve three terms as California’s governor when he took over from Mr. Schwarzenegger, a Republican who won office in a 2003 recall election. Mr. Brown’s tenure as the 34th governor, from 1975 to 1983, was before voter-imposed term limits, allowing Mr. Brown to seek the office again this year.

He also is the second oldest person to hold the office — behind Gov. Frank Merriam, who tackled budget deficits during the Great Depression and turned 74 during his final weeks in office in 1939.

During his previous two terms, Mr. Brown was criticized for being distracted by his continual pursuit of higher office. He sought the Democratic presidential nominations in 1976 and 1980, then lost a bid for U.S. Senate in 1982.

This time around, he said he’s too old to run for higher office. But after introducing his 98-year-old aunt, Connie Carlson, Mr. Brown offered a caution for those already eyeing his office.

“By the way, those of you who are hankering after my job, it may be a while. So relax. God willing, the genes are good,” he said.

Brown adviser Steve Glazer said he was unsure of Mr. Brown’s plans for his first day on the job. He could drop by any number of celebrations around town, visit the governor’s office or even his rented condo across the street from the auditorium.

A late-afternoon reception was planned for the California Railroad Museum in the Old Sacramento tourist section, but all inaugural festivities were expected to cost less than $100,000.

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