California Forward isa nonpartisan, nonprofit organization working to bring government closer to the people and move the state in the right direction – forward. We believe empowered local communities are best equipped to solve their own problems, and there is a critical link between many of the problems that threaten our future and our state government, which has become ineffective, unresponsive, and unable to fix itself.
Local governments in California face several years of tight budgets – with consequences for classrooms and libraries, and services to neglected children, the elderly, and the mentally ill. These public hardships are matched with private ones – and aggravated by a growing concern that the middle-income jobs that disappeared with the recession may not come back with the recovery.
We need a plan. In three years, honest accounting can restore trust. In five years, a culture of performance can generate better results. In seven years Californians will see better returns – with better jobs, better communities, better futures. This plan must be a commitment by elected officials to make public programs work best where they are needed most.
We are committed to partnering with others across the state to develop our Fiscal Reform,Structural Reform, and Democracy Reform efforts. We are also engaged in a statewide conversation on reform, Speak Up CA, in which citizens across the state can learn more and help shape our reform proposals.
California Forward is supported or endorsed by an unprecedented diversity of business, labor, faith, and community organizations from all over the state.
California Forward‘s mission is to work with Californians to help create a “smart” government – one that’s small enough to listen, big enough to tackle real problems, smart enough to spend our money wisely in good times and bad, and honest enough to be held accountable for results.
We’re different from other efforts to reform our state, because we believe in the importance of working together and understand that only robust public discussion and the creation of broad coalitions can move solutions forward.
California’s state and local governments must work better together for everyone. If Californians can come together to restructure the relationships between state and local governments, the experience of other states indicates that in five to seven years, we will begin to see the benefits of better governance and renewed private investment.
Continuous improvement in the performance of education and social programs will allow the state to shift resources from prisons back to universities. Efficiencies and innovation in regulation will allow businesses to pay higher wages, while still remaining competitive. Growing middle-income jobs will reduce demand for public services and increase tax revenue.
Restructuring California’s government can be the beginning of a cycle – improved education, increased employment, decreased poverty, improved health, and less crime – that can lead to the best possible outcome: A government that achieves positive social gains in a financially sustainable way.
California Forward believes we can revive the California Dream and turn our broken government into an efficient, effective body, focused on performance, accountability, and transparency. But we must all get involved.