Good government refers to the way in which elected officials exercise their political authority to successfully protect the environment. Good governance with respect to the environment requires that decisions are made and implemented using legitimate, transparent, responsive, participatory, equitable processes to achieve effective policies that protect California's natural resources and heritage for future generations.
But in part because of the ugly, partisan struggle over the state’s financial crisis, many Californians have lost faith in their elected representatives. They believe that “Sacramento” no longer works for ordinary people or in the interest of our environment. Recent polling results reveal that public opinion of both the governor and the state legislature is at an all-time low. In light of the ongoing struggle over resolving the state budget crisis, many advocates have called for lowering the supermajority threshold for adoption of the budget and tax increases. California is one of only a handful of states with this requirement—in California’s case, a two-thirds supermajority is needed to pass the budget and any tax increases.
The supermajority requirement has made it possible for the minority party to hold the state budget hostage and force concessions on issues (in particular, environmental issues) that don’t belong in budget negotiations. Others point out that California’s governance problems go beyond the two-thirds requirement; for example, Proposition 13 (which was passed in 1978) capped property taxes, a major source of revenue for programs and services, which has contributed to the state’s dysfunction. And according to recent polling data, the majority of Californians believe it is time for a complete overhaul of state government in the form of a constitutional convention. According to Field Poll director Mark DiCamillo, “a majority sees the need for making fundamental changes to the state constitution and would support calling a constitutional convention to develop the reform proposals.”