Fixing California: An approach to agree on

150 150 John Guenther

Hats off to the Think Long Committee (TLC) for braving the waters of reform with a thoughtful, bipartisan approach to addressing the gridlock and fiscal issues that face the state.  The TLC report builds on what California Forward has learned through years of its own research, outreach and discussions with California’s political, business and civic leaders:  Californians want change, and they want it now.

Californians believe state government can be fixed, but they also believe that the key to effective and efficient government lies in increasing the authority and responsibility of local leadership to solve problems. 

In working with state, business and community leaders and in partnership with civic groups to develop more responsive, representative and cost-effective government, California Forward understands that the public doesn’t trust government.   In large part, that’s because of the disconnect between state and local government, the arcane system currently in place to distribute tax dollars to local communities, and the lack of integration, cooperation and collaboration in solving common regional problems.   The public looks to leadership locally, not in Sacramento.

California Forward has proposed the Government Performance and Accountability Act (GPAA) as a constitutional amendment to structurally change the way government in California operates.  TLC is also recommending ways to improve state government.   While there are some differences,  the objectives are the same:  Entrust local leadership to improve outcomes crucial to the resurgence of growth and development in the state.

Currently the state is failing in virtually every measure of economic, social and civic wellbeing that matters most to Californians.  Instead of budget planning around specific community goals and objectives, local communities must “make do” with a revenue formula imposed by Sacramento.   Performance, under the current set up, plays no part in how tax dollars are spent.

California Forward shares TLC’s belief that greater local involvement is the the key to deciding critical budget issues.  It’s also important to building transparency and accountability into the system so that Californians get what they pay for and elect leaders who deliver. 

One more commonality of importance:  Here are two groups working in bipartisan ways to  develop  solutions based on what Californians have in common – rather the philosophy first, single-issue discord that dominates public institutions.


John Guenther

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