On Eve of First Debate, California Forward Challenges Candidates to Tackle Budget Reform

 

Nonpartisan Reform Group Gives People A Voice in Fixing California

Sacramento – With the major candidates for Governor set to square off in their first debate, California Forward issued an open letter urging the candidates to take a stand on reforming the state’s budget process and launched a newspaper and online effort inviting people to share their ideas on fixing California.

In their letter, members of California Forward’s leadership council ask Meg Whitman and Attorney General Jerry Brown to speak plainly to voters about their plans to balance the budget, restore accountability and get better results.

“Years of gridlock have left our state without the common-sense tools it needs to accomplish its most basic task – balancing the state budget. The results are being felt across California: Communities scrambling to pay for schools and basic services; Bureaucracies operating on auto-pilot, with leaders unwilling to set priorities; and, State government lurching from crisis to crisis with no plan for the long term,” the letter states. “Cynics see these problems as unsolvable. We disagree.

“Today and over the next few weeks, you and your opponent will debate the future of California. As you do, we ask you to speak plainly about how you would put the state’s fiscal house in order – now and over the long term. It’s time to tell California where you stand on fiscal reform.”

An ad highlighting the letter will appear in Tuesday’s Sacramento Bee. The ad includes both a web address and a telephone number inviting people to add their views to the debate about how to reform the state’s budget process.

A nonpartisan, non-profit organization, California Forward has created a set of principles based on the best practices of other states and successful businesses to reform California’s budget process. The group is working to build support for its reform principles in anticipation of its sister organization, the California Forward Action Fund, placing them on the ballot. The organization is launching an ambitious and unprecedented effort to engage with Californians across the state to elicit their input and support.

The full text of the open letter and newspaper ad are below. To add your voice to the debate over budget reform visit caforward.org/deargov or call (916) 244-4872.

Open Letter Text:

To California’s Next Governor:

For generations, the promise of California has drawn people from across the country and around the world.

We’re a state of thinkers and doers, home to the most productive farmland in the world, the best universities in the country and the most innovative companies in human history. Our best days are still ahead.

But the promise of California is in jeopardy, and you can provide the leadership to do something about it.

Years of gridlock have left our state without the common-sense tools it needs to accomplish its most basic task – balancing the state budget.

The results are being felt across California:

• Communities scrambling to pay for schools and basic services

Bureaucracies operating on auto-pilot, with leaders unwilling to set priorities

• State government lurching from crisis to crisis with no plan for the long term

Cynics see these problems as unsolvable. We disagree.

California Forward has developed a set of nonpartisan reforms to help balance the budget, reduce waste and deliver better results. Our proposals are based on practices that have proven themselves in other states.

Today and over the next few weeks, you and your opponent will debate the future of California.

As you do, we ask you to speak plainly about how you would put the state’s fiscal house in order – now and over the long term.

It’s time to tell California where you stand on fiscal reform:

How will you set clear goals for every major program – and mend or end what doesn’t work?

How will you restore accountability and oversight to state operations?

How will you set reserves aside during good times to guard against economic downturns?

How will you ensure passage of fiscally responsible budgets on time?

How will you keep government from making promises it can’t afford to keep?

Our state has always been a leader – in jobs, technology, education and quality of life. We need comprehensive reform so that we can lead again, and one day pass on the promise of California to the next generation. We ask you, our state’s next Governor, to lead the way.

Sincerely,

California Forward Leadership Council

And to all Californians, we invite you to add your voice to the call for common-sense budget reform (web address).

Newspaper Ad Text:

Dear Future Governor of California:

It's time to tell California where you stand on fiscal reform.

How will you set clear goals for every major program – and mend or end what doesn’t work? How will you restore accountability and oversight to state operations? How will you set reserves aside during good times to guard against economic downturns? How will you ensure passage of fiscally responsible budgets on time? How will you keep government from making promises it can’t afford to keep?

You can tell the next Governor how to fix California. Go to caforward.org/deargov to read our letter to the candidates and call (916) 244-4872 to leave your message.

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