Better, Faster, Cheaper

Unleashing Evidence-Based Management in Government

If evidence-based decision-making is all the rage in government these days, how do agencies develop the skills to conduct such analyses? And how do agencies create a culture to support this management approach so it isn't just another flavor-of-the-month fad?

New Jersey's child-welfare system may have cracked the code. A new report for the IBM Center for the Business of Government, by David Lambert and Julie Atkins of the University of Southern Maine, tells the story. READ MORE

A Chance to Get Sports Teams Out of Taxpayers’ Wallets

A little-noticed provision in President Obama's current budget proposal would protect state and local government officials from themselves by ending the practice of allowing tax-exempt bonds to be used to finance sports stadiums.

Tax-exempt bonds were designed to help governments build infrastructure by reducing borrowing costs, but political leaders routinely use them to benefit privately owned sports franchises. A 2012 Bloomberg analysis found that 22 National Football League teams were playing in stadiums that were financed with tax-exempt debt. Sixty-four baseball, basketball and hockey teams played in facilities that were built using the bonds. READ MORE

The Growing Evidence That P3s Are Delivering Value

Faced with constrained resources, government officials continue to turn to public-private partnerships (P3s) for various reasons, including maximizing capital resources, transferring risk, accelerating project delivery, achieving cost savings and enhancing accountability. This is particularly true for capital-intensive, highly complex infrastructure projects.

But what evidence exists from projects that have been completed or are under construction to show whether P3s are delivering public value? An examination of some of the larger P3 infrastructure projects across the country offers reasons for optimism. READ MORE

Want a Tax Credit With That Popcorn?

There is no shortage of data indicating that governments go overboard when it comes to providing businesses with economic-development tax incentives. If Massachusetts' new governor has his way, that state will start to do something about it.

The tax incentives come in a variety of forms, ranging from credits, exemptions or deductions -- either for specific industries or for companies that agree to hire a certain number of people -- to enticements for companies to move to a particular neighborhood. READ MORE

How to Create a Public Pension Disaster

When government discovers a problem, addressing it can be difficult. But if state and local leaders put off dealing with the problem, difficult often becomes disastrous.

New Jersey provides the most recent proof of this simple truth. In the mid-1990s, the state started deferring payments to its pension plan, instead using the money to plug short-term budget holes. Predictably, the state's public-pension and retiree-health-benefits system is now the fourth most underfunded in the country. READ MORE