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Tax and Fiscal Reform, September 2009

Report Back - Fall 09 CA Tax and Fiscal Reform MeetingThe California fiscal crisis continues to wreak havoc on low-income communities and communities of color. The Bay Area Social Equity Caucus' Fall Quarterly Meeting, co-hosted with Alliance for Justice, brought together more than 60 individuals from non-profit, private, government, labor and philanthropic sectors to discuss the local and regional impacts of the current state budget crisis and to strategize around engaging underrepresented communities in the movement for reform. 

Participants learned about the current statewide efforts moving tax and fiscal reform and how their organizations could connect local work to larger statewide campaigns. Panelist presented different strategies to fix California's broken system ranging from the grassroots movements being led by California Alliance and California Partnership, the legislative efforts from California Forward, and the Bay Area Council's call for a Constitutional Convention.

If you weren’t able to attend meeting or would like more information about tax reform efforts throughout the State, the resources from the day are available at the bottom of the page.

Speaker Bios

Panelists at Fall 09 CA Tax and Fiscal Reform MeetingAlonso Gonzalez is the Public Relations Bureau Director for Repair California.  After the publication of an opinion piece in the San Francisco Chronicle calling for a Constitutional Convention, a movement was born. Repair California is proposing two State ballot measures: The first measure gives Californians the right to call a Constitutional Convention, and the second measure will call a Convention and set the process. Town hall meetings are being held across the State to listen to what Californians want to see come out of a Constitutional Convention. Based on feedback from the town hall meetings, the Repair California website and other concerned citizens, initiative language for the two measures will be finalized and submitted to the Attorney General on September 25, 2009.  The Convention would be held in 2011, and the suggested reforms would be placed on the ballot in November of 2012 for the approval of the voters.

Dennis Quirin Speaking at Fall 09 CA Tax and Fiscal Reform MeetingDennis Quirin is the Coalitions Director at California Forward. California Forward’s mission is to improve the quality of life for all Californians by creating more responsive, representative and cost-effective government. California Forward’s vision is a California where: 1) Government is closer to the people. Local governments can solve problems in ways that work for diverse communities and regional economies. 2) Fiscal systems are reliable, efficient and focused on results. Tax policies and budget practices must be aligned to the new structure and fortified to ensure value and public trust. At all levels of government this should include: 3) State leaders are held accountable for making improvements, and voters are empowered to understand and exercise their role in a strong democracy.

Nancy Berlin is the Director of California Partnership. California Partnership is a statewide coalition of community groups organizing to expand and protect the safety net for low-income Californians and advocating for programs and policies that reduce and end poverty.  California Partnership develops leaders to fight for the services communities need and deserve and to build networks to increase collective strength.  

Karla Zombro is the Strategic Initiatives Coordinator for CA Alliance/SCOPE-LA. The long-term goal of the California Alliance is the development of a progressive state alliance of organizations representing key issue sectors and strategic geographic regions of California, with agreement on a strategic state public policy agenda, and the collective power to win systemic reform. From its inception in 2003, the Alliance’s core power building principle has been a commitment to grassroots organizing and bottom-up base building among constituencies who suffer from social and economic injustices.  In March of this year the Alliance voted to make systemic tax and fiscal policy reform, centered on undoing the major reactionary elements of Proposition 13, its strategic public policy agenda.

The Alliance is currently comprised of 11 member organizations representing 4 strategic areas of the state: the San Francisco Bay Area, South Bay/Silicon Valley, Los Angeles, and San Diego.  Constituencies represented by alliance organizations include poor and working communities, African American, Latino, Asian and Pacific Islander communities, immigrants, women, youth, people on public assistance, seniors, and low-income workers. 

Courtesy of Alliance for Justice
Organization Resources
Advocacy and Leadership Center - Resources on crafting advocacy campaigns
- Tech Tools for advocacy
 Alliance for Justice - Technical assistance on legal rules governing advocacy
- Factsheets and publications
- Tools to help evaluate capacity for advocacy


Ballot Initiative Strategy Center  
- Resources for qualifying a measure for the ballot
Bay Area Social Equity Caucus - Trainings and Leadership Institutes for member organizations
- Policy briefings
Fenton Communications - Publication called “Now Hear This: The 9 Laws of Successful Advocacy Communication”
Midwest Academy - How to tips for meetings with legislators and direct action organizing
The Spin Project - Publication called “Loud and Clear in an Election Year”
 Spitfire Strategies - Publications called “Just Enough Planning Guide” and “Activation Point Guide”