TABLE of CONTENTS December 2011

Cover Story

Red States, Green Jobs

BY John Buntin

The South has more green jobs than any other region. But will politicians keep investing in something many Southern voters don’t believe in?


ALEC Enjoys A New Wave of Influence and Criticism

The American Legislative Exchange Council’s conservative ideas are resonating in practically every area of state government. And its opponents aren’t happy about it. BY Alan Greenblatt

Governments Experiment With Risk-Free Financing

Massachusetts may be the first state to use social impact bonds, a unique model that started in the U.K. for financing social programs. BY Russell Nichols

When Teams Leave, What Do You Do With the Stadium?

Houston’s sports teams left the Astrodome over a decade ago, and leaders still don’t have the answer. BY Ryan Holeywell

Cybercrime Hits Small Towns

As more public employees use social media, mobile devices and cloud computing, cyberattacks are becoming a bigger concern. Is small-town America prepared? BY Tod Newcombe



Taxing the Rich Isn’t Always a Moneymaker

Several states increased taxes on the wealthy in recent years. The move brought in extra revenue but didn’t solve all of states’ budget problems. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Safety & Justice

St. Louis Wants to Control Its Own Police Force Again

In the nineteenth century, some states took control of local police forces. Today, St. Louis is the last big city whose force is still under state control. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Health & Human Services

America’s Least Active City Sits Down to Celebrate

After Lexington, Ky., earned the award for least active city, residents and the mayor took to the streets to boast their win in a Sedentary Parade. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Workforce

California’s Money-Saving MVP

If finding ways to save money for a cash-starved state wasn’t enough, California’s Auditor Elaine Howle is adding the task of setting up a new redistricting commission to her to-do list. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Health & Human Services

Governments Abandon Fingerprinting for Food Stamps

Most states and cities stopped requiring that recipients be fingerprinted because it was costly and slowed the application process. New York City and Arizona are the last jurisdictions that still do it. BY Caroline Cournoyer

New Documentary 'Urbanized' Explores Design of the City

Without getting wonky, Gary Hustwit's latest shows what's working -- and what isn't -- in cities across the globe. BY Ryan Holeywell
Potomac Chronicle

2012 Presidential Candidates Challenge Mandates

Republicans and Democrats call for fewer mandates. Both parties, however, have yet to answer fundamental questions about what government should do and how it should pay for it. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Health & Human Services

Cross-Border Insurance Revisited

Texas Gov. Rick Perry once supported a binational U.S.-Mexico health insurance plan. Why didn’t the idea grab the Lone Star State’s fancy? BY Caroline Cournoyer
Energy & Environment

Greening the Corporate Bottom Line

Companies are legally obligated to try to maximize profits. Some states are creating companies that can also factor employees, the community and the environment into financial decisions. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Economic Engines

A Lesson for Passenger Rail, From Roads

A look back at the building of millions of miles of roads shows why passenger rail needs a well-structured bureaucracy in order to succeed. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Urban Notebook

The Trouble with Pedestrian Malls

Once popular, these car-free zones are slowly disappearing from the urban landscape. BY Caroline Cournoyer


Economic Development

Training for Free

A Georgia program that President Obama wants to expand nationwide shows that businesses might hire more workers if they don’t have to pay for training. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Smart Management

In Government We Don’t Trust

People have gradually lost trust in government. How can public leaders get it back? BY Caroline Cournoyer
Tech Talk

Farm of the Future: Aquaponics?

Milwaukee hopes to pioneer new tech advances in farming that would create jobs and eliminate food deserts in depressed neighborhoods. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Public Money

Slaying the OPEB Dragon

Retiree medical costs can be tamed, but it requires effort. Some solutions are obvious, others are at the cutting edge of innovation. BY Caroline Cournoyer
Infrastructure & Environment

Gabe Klein Pursues a Pedestrian-Friendly Message in Chicago

After instituting new bike lanes and one of the nation’s largest bikeshare programs in D.C., Klein hopes to have similar success as Chicago’s new transit chief. BY Caroline Cournoyer