Better, Faster, Cheaper

The Need for Governing Intelligence

Recent advances in artificial intelligence have enabled many promising technologies, from sophisticated voice recognition to virtual personal assistants. While there is much excitement about how these technologies might lead to better public services, we will achieve more profound gains if we first focus on building governing intelligence -- the capacity for effective data-driven governance.

Just as artificial intelligence enables machines to be responsive in ways beyond simple pre-planned procedures, governing intelligence can empower governments to be effective in the dynamic modern era in areas ranging from customer service to responding to unseen terror threats. READ MORE

Risk Sharing's Key Role in Strengthening Public Pensions

There appears to be a lesson to be drawn from Wisconsin's fully funded public pension system, along with promising pension reforms recently enacted in Arizona: More risk sharing between employers and employees can be a major ingredient in creating fiscally sustainable state and local government retirement systems.


Why Data Sharing Should Be Government's Default

Government needs to adopt a share first mentality for departmental data. Its easy exchange should be the default, not the arduous and exceptional result of lengthy administrative and legal battles to pry data from legacy computer systems and siloed departments.

Departments within a single government entity should be able to freely use data that's been scrubbed of sensitive personal information, although clear policies concerning the process for anonymizing the information, as well as how long and under what conditions it will be archived, are necessary. READ MORE

Why Paratransit Doesn’t Have to Be So Expensive

In an era of scarcity for transit systems, there is growing pressure on paratransit, the expensive programs for transporting those with limited mobility, to operate more efficiently. A new study from New York City's Citizens Budget Commission (CBC) and reforms underway in other cities suggest that the goals of operating more efficiently and better serving those who need additional assistance getting around need not be at odds.

New York's Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA) spends more than $70 per paratransit trip and has high per-capita paratransit usage. As a result, the MTA subsidized its Access-A-Ride service last year to the tune of $256 million. READ MORE

Reckoning Time for a City’s Bad Fiscal Decisions

The longer a government's finances are allowed to deteriorate, the fewer options there are when corrective action is finally taken. Anyone who doubts that ought to look at a proposed 10-year plan commissioned by the city of Providence, R.I., and produced by the federal National Resource Network (NRN). It makes a number of important recommendations, almost all of which would require very unpleasant decisions - the kind that all too many local governments are facing after years and decades of imprudent fiscal decisions.

Providence is confronted with tremendous fiscal challenges, ones severe enough that they could lead to municipal bankruptcy. The city faces an ongoing structural budget gap, one of the drivers of which is payments needed to rescue a public employees' pension that is officially just 27.4 percent funded. READ MORE