TABLE of CONTENTS April 2013

Cover Story

Should Local Government Be Run Like Silicon Valley?

BY John Buntin

Cities are contracting with Code for America -- what some call “the Peace Corps for geeks” -- in an effort to seed Silicon Valley virtues in local government.

FEATURES

Flood-Prone Cities Try Disaster Planning on Their Own

Some places aren’t waiting for another Sandy. They're taking matters into their own hands. But what’s best for one city may not be best for the region. BY Jonathan Walters

Pension Reform Success Stories

Most states and many municipalities have passed some kind of pension reform in recent years, but only a few did so in a way that addresses the immediate unfunded liability of their plans. Plus: Has pension reform gone too far? BY Liz Farmer

Is Mayor Scott Smith Arizona’s Next Governor?

The moderate Republican is resigning as mayor and president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors to run for governor. BY Ryan Holeywell

How Smaller Cities Hold onto Major Employers

When a city’s economy depends on one employer, leaders will go to great lengths to make them happy. But to survive, towns need to attract new businesses. BY Mike Maciag

Tea Party Running the Show in Georgia County

Most of Fayette County’s elected leaders are Tea Partiers, shedding light on how Tea Party reformers -- if given full control -- might shape public policy and overhaul Republican politics at the local level. BY J.B. Wogan

POLITICS + POLICY

FedWatch

The Story Behind the Biggest Mistake in Obamacare

A Governing exclusive: Because of an error in the language of the Affordable Care Act, millions of people will be able to purchase private health insurance next year. BY Dylan Scott
View

Universities Test 'Tuition Guarantees' to Reduce Debt

A few schools are guaranteeing four-year tuition rates for incoming students while the higher education world watches to see how the experiment works. BY Dylan Scott
Politics

Gender-Neutral Language Written into State Laws

Many states -- Washington being the latest -- have revised decades-old codes and statutes to remove any gender bias. BY Brian Peteritas
Better Government

Our Ebbing Urge to Incarcerate

California seems to be finding a way out of its prison-overcrowding problems. Have we decided that locking up so many people isn't the best way to keep the public safe? BY Todd Newcombe
Dispatch

Manufacturing in 3-D

Three-dimensional printing could be the next big economic engine. BY Brian Peteritas
Potomac Chronicle

GOP Governors Ask ‘What Would Reagan Do?’

Furious at Washington gridlock and seeking to get their party back on top, Republican governors -- like President Ronald Reagan before them -- are waging an anti-tax campaign aimed at the income tax. BY Brian Peteritas
FedWatch

Whatever Happened to the Office of Urban Affairs?

Created four years ago, the federal office was supposed to engage cities and metro areas in all major policy decisions. Today, the Obama administration has “little to show for its efforts.” BY Caroline Cournoyer
Health & Human Services

Will Insurance Ever Cover a Cancer Test That Saves Money, Lives?

A test that could curb deaths from the leading cancer killer is fighting for approval. BY Caroline Cournoyer
State News

State Regulators Want Insurers Better Prepared for Climate Change

Most insurance companies aren’t adequately preparing for the challenges of climate change, according to a new report, but they are still well-positioned to take the lead on the issue and become vocal advocates in statehouses and on Capitol Hill. BY Dylan Scott
Economic Engines

Who Should Control Broadband?

The question of who will install fiber-optic networks and who will control them is key because it could impact decades of economic growth. Telecom giants like AT&T think they should be the only player. BY Brian Peteritas
Urban Notebook

When Will the U.S. Build Another Subway?

High construction costs have made it virtually impossible to build new subways. But we still need them. BY Kathy Gambrell

PROBLEM SOLVER

By the Numbers

State of the State Addresses: What Are Governors' Priorities?

We've summarized all the key issues governors talked about in their speeches to kick off legislative sessions. BY Mike Maciag
Smart Management

The Risks of Relying on User Fees

In the past three years, states and cities have brought in billions of dollars in additional user fees. But there are pitfalls to this form of revenue boost. BY Brian Peteritas
Better Government

How to Insult Government Workers

There are lots of problems with pay for performance, but one of the most salient is that it implies that employees are slackers. BY Mark Funkhouser
Tech Talk

The Age of the Tech-Savvy Legislator

An influx of young lawmakers could lead to better technology investments. BY Brian Peteritas
Public Money

How to Talk About Tax Expenditures

There are ways to take some of the partisan heat out of the discussion. BY Brian Peteritas