TABLE of CONTENTS April 2007

Cover Story

Lone Star Contract Less

BY Will Wilson

A privatization program unravels in its first year and raises questions about how it could go so far south so fast.


Death From Washington

Federal prosecutors are increasingly eager to invoke capital punishment--even in states that don't like it. BY Alan Greenblatt

Working Without Wires

If you're looking for cadres of BlackBerry addicts or Bluetooth-heads, don't look in Corpus Christi. There's nary a laptop computer to be seen on the... BY Christopher Swope

Bad Bugs

Usually, it's just a mild skin infection, an irritating outbreak of pimples. But it can get much worse: The pimples can become painful lesions or... BY Zach Patton

The Disability Dilemma

When it comes to the growing costs of government, one thing particularly rankles Dean Rich, the finance director for O'Fallon, Illinois: two police officers claiming... BY Jonathan Walters

Fleet Dreams

If tomorrow's cars won't be fueled by gas, what will run them and who'll pick the winner? BY Josh Goodman

Catching Up With Speed

Two states are adjusting the way they deal with lead-footed drivers. BY Melissa Maynard

Up Front

Economic Development

Property Dilemma

Florida property taxes badly need reform. But it has to be sensible reform. BY Sarah Harney

New Clout In a Big County

L.A. County supervisors have done something unusual--given up power voluntarily. BY Sarah Harney

Horrendous Honeymoon

It's hard to imagine a worse start than the one Nevada's governor is off to. BY Sarah Harney

Greenhouse Shift

By one vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has altered the politics of air pollution. BY Sarah Harney

Greenhouse Shift

By one vote, the U.S. Supreme Court has altered the politics of air pollution. BY Sarah Harney
Hidden Section

Pantry Politics

Whenever the revenue picture in most states is relatively bright, grocery taxes inevitably emerge as a political issue in those places that still impose them. BY Alan Ehrenhalt
Management & Labor

Making a Splash

The technology staff for Indianapolis and surrounding Marion County recently deployed a sophisticated new piece of hardware - a collaboration tool, known to many carnival-goers... BY Mark Stencel
Potomac Chronicle

Watered-Down TEA

This is supposed to be the era of enlightened federal transportation policy. Sometimes you have to wonder. BY Jonathan Walters

King of Swing

In an all-but-deadlocked Montana House, iconoclast Rick Jore holds the balance of power. BY Sarah Harney

The Business of Government

Energy & Environment

Hot Stuff: States Look to Natural Energy

As states seek ways to meet their renewable-energy goals, solar and geothermal power may become major players--despite their expensive start-up costs. BY Sarah Harney
Economic Development

Doubling Trouble: Minnesota's Gigantic Mall Has Growing Pains

The Mall of America in Bloomington, Minnesota, welcomes 40 million annual visitors, spans 4.2 million square feet and houses 32 shoe stores alone. But the mall's managers want to double its size, and they want state and local governments to help pay for it--to the tune of more than $200 million in tax breaks. BY Sarah Harney

Highway Helper: States Add Leverage To P3 Deals

Chicago and Indiana were the pioneers: They tapped into public-private partnerships--known as P3s--to improve their highways and infuse their coffers with billions of dollars. BY Sarah Harney
Smart Management

The Listening Post

One of the toughest things for states or localities to do is get bona fide input from citizens on how they're doing. BY Katherine Barrett & Richard Greene
Health & Human Services

Medicaid's Breaking Point

Language is powerful. So when a negative word becomes linked to an idea or program, the result often is damaging. That's what I see happening... BY Penelope Lemov
Infrastructure & Environment


Allowing skinny houses to be built on small lots can increase both density and affordability. BY Sarah Harney
Public Money

Lassoing GASB 45

Texas is leading a charge to get rid of the accounting rule that forces states and localities to tally the future costs of health benefits for retirees. BY John E. Petersen
State News

A New Measure for Local Aid

States may tie strings to their helping hand. BY Sarah Harney