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One year ago, California’s newly elected leaders began grappling with a host of familiar problems, from a fragile economy to a state budget awash in red ink. But as the months passed, the results were equally familiar: faulty fixes and partisan stalemate. Today, sustained economic uncertainty and the inability of elected leaders to problem-solve has created increasing public frustration and distrust of government.

At PPIC, we recognize that we play an essential and unique role. Our ability to deliver reliable, accessible analysis free of partisanship and ideological bias helps the state find systemic and sustainable solutions to its major problems. We know that we must work harder—and smarter—to build common knowledge and consensus around a vision of California that looks beyond the next election cycle.

To help us improve our effectiveness during this crucial period for California, PPIC engaged in a comprehensive strategic planning process involving our leadership, staff, and a diverse group of advisors from across the state. We welcomed new leadership in policy research and developed a compelling framework for PPIC’s research and engagement activities, which will devote greater attention to the major areas of California’s general fund spending—K-12 and higher education, health and human services, and corrections.

We brought essential information to an ever-wider audience and encouraged dialogue on tough issues—from economic and tax policy to water management to the state-local fiscal relationship. Our new Bechtel Conference Center at PPIC’s headquarters in San Francisco became a premier venue for innovative programs such as our 2011 Speaker Series on California’s Future. I hope you will take a moment to read about the activities and accomplishments outlined in our 2011: Year in Review.

We rely on an extensive network of advisors and consumers of our work to help maximize our impact, relevance, and reach. Thank you to our board of directors, statewide leadership council, and countless members of the business and nonprofit communities who serve as ambassadors and constituents for our work.

And thank you to the individuals and organizations that provide PPIC with essential financial support, which makes it possible for us to conduct timely, high-quality research and develop engagement programs that spur constructive policy debates.

I hope you will continue to share your perspectives and suggestions with me and lend your support to our efforts in the challenging year ahead.

Thank you,

Mark Baldassare
President and CEO