Reform California is a 527 political action committee that is dedicated to holding state and local government accountable. We fight costly and unfair taxes, mandates, and fees because working families cannot afford a higher cost of living — and state and local politicians already have enough of our money.
Reform California achieves its mission in two ways:
- Launching Our Own Campaigns: Reform California has filed, qualified, and passed numerous citizen ballot initiatives to impose reform on state and local government. Reform California also organizes campaigns in opposition to bad initiatives proposed by politicians such as tax increases.
- Helping Campaigns of Other Reformers: Reform California provides a wide variety of direct and indirect support to organizations and candidates who are reform-minded. By working collaboratively with these partners, we can maximize limited resources in the fight against the well-funded forces behind big government.
Given that California is currently dominated by one political party with a supermajority – and the other political party has shown itself largely ineffective in its opposition role – Reform California seeks to be the counterbalance to extreme and misguided policies that are costing taxpayers and hurting working families in our state.
Ordinary citizens from all walks of life are funders and supporters of Reform California. In fact, Reform California has grown into one of the largest grassroots advocacy organizations in the country.
- Contributors: Reform California has built a grassroots army of over 50,000 donors who give an average of just $37 per contribution during each election cycle.
- Volunteers: Reform California has recruited over 30,000 volunteers spread throughout each region of the state. These volunteers help collect signatures for ballot measures and volunteer for candidate and causes that Reform California endorses.
- Subscribers: Reform California has over 500,000 subscribers to news alerts on state policy issues and politics.
This diversity and broad-based support gives Reform California true independence from the political system because our funding is not tied to any special interests with business before the state.
Reform California was founded in 2003 by government reform leader Carl DeMaio – with the initial focus on uncovering the financial crisis faced at that time by the City of San Diego. That initial work led to the City of San Diego admitting to falsifying its financial statements and hiding its multi-billion pension debt crisis. After exposing this financial crisis, Reform California outlined a bold fiscal reform plan that saved the City of San Diego from bankruptcy.
Since its launch in 2003, Reform California has led over two dozen initiative campaigns – both in specific regions as well as state-wide.
In 2012, Reform California pulled off a historic win with Prop B – San Diego Pension Reform Initiative. This landmark reform measure capped existing pensions for the City of San Diego and moved all newly hired government employees to 401k retirement accounts. To date it remains the only pension reform effort that has survived legal challenges.
In 2017, Reform California led the successful Recall against State Senator Josh Newman (D) who cast the deciding vote in approving the costly and unfair car and gas tax hikes. In 2018, Reform California collected over 1 million signatures to qualify Proposition 6 – the Gas Tax Repeal Initiative.
In 2020, Reform California helped defeat Prop 15 – the largest tax hike in the history of California, as well as defeat over three dozen local tax hikes. In addition Reform California’s “plain English” voter guide was downloaded by more than 264,000 unique voters during the November 2020 election.