The Think Long Committee for California was established in 2010 to address the dysfunctional state of affairs in the world’s 5th largest economy. The group, composed for 13 eminent citizens ranging from Clinton-era economist Laura Tyson to Ron George, the former Chief Justice of the California Supreme Court, met for one year of deliberations and delivered a blueprint for action going forward. Since that deliberative stage ended, the Committee was reconstituted as a series of working groups and a policy bank geared toward implementation of the original committee’s recommendations.
To that end, along with a coalition of other civic groups ranging from Common Cause to the League of Women Voters, the Think Long Committee passed legislation in 2014, signed by Governor Jerry Brown, to amend the citizen’s ballot initiative process for the first time in 40 years. That reform mandated greater transparency and deliberation for ballot propositions while fostering a process of negotiation between ballot sponsors and the legislature to fix problems and unintended consequences of proposed measures. If agreement is reached, measures can be withdrawn from the ballot and implemented through legislation. This has resulted in landmark minimum wage and digital privacy laws in California.
The Committee also worked with Governor Jerry Brown to design a rainy day reserve fund and ensure its passage into law.
Additionally, the Committee has conducted extensive modeling of California’s economy as the basis for reform that will align the state’s antiquated tax system to the reality of a 21st Century service and information economy.
The aim is to ensure a steady and stable revenue flow for early childhood and public higher education — the key rungs on the ladder of upward mobility for the state’s diverse population. The Committee is working closely with the Governor and legislature on completing this tax reform in the coming years.