Open letter to California’s Next Governor

150 150 California Forward Leadership Council

In an open letter to the gubernatorial candidates, we have asked them to explain where they stand on fiscal reform. We’ve also developed a set of nonpartisan reforms to help balance the budget, reduce waste, and deliver better results. These are our ideas – but we want you to have a voice as well. Before the debate this week, read our open letter and add your own ideas to fix California (click here to download the .pdf of the letter):

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.


California Forward Leadership Council:


Robert M. Hertzberg, co-chair     Chair & Founder, G24 Innovations

William Hauck

President, California Business Roundtable

Bruce McPherson

Former California Secretary of State

Thomas V. McKernan, co-chair   CEO, Automobile Club of Southern California

Antonia Herna?ndez

President & CEO, California Community Foundation

Lenny Mendonca

Director, McKinsey & Company

Robert L. Balgenorth

President, State Building & Construction Trades Council of California, AFL-CIO

Fred Keeley

Former Assembly Speaker pro Tempore

Cruz Reynoso

Former Associate Justice, California Supreme Court and the Third District Court of Appeal

David Davenport

Research Fellow, Hoover Institution

Stewart Kwoh

President & Executive Director, Asian Pacific American Legal Center of Southern California

Constance L. Rice

Former Co-Director, Los Angeles NAACP Legal Defense & Educational Fund

Lloyd Dean

President & CEO, Catholic Healthcare West

Peter Weber

Executive Committee Chair, California Partnership for the San Joaquin Valley

Eugene J. Voiland Former President & CEO, Aera Energy LLC

Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins

CEO, Green For All

Sunne Wright McPeak

President & CEO, California Emerging Technology Fund


And to all Californians, we invite you to add your voice to the call for common-sense budget reform at


California Forward Leadership Council

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