Cover Story

Financial Illiteracy: One of Government’s Biggest and Least-Discussed Problems

BY Liz Farmer

Failure to understand financial outcomes is more dangerous to states and localities than ever, and there’s a big gap between what public leaders know about finance and what they need to know.

FEATURES

Public Safety & Justice

Should California’s Crowded Prisons Look to San Francisco’s Shrinking Jails?

In the 1980s, San Francisco faced a court order similar to the one the state is facing now to reduce overcrowding. Rather than simply throwing the book at people, the city now often treats jail as a last resort and focuses on reintegrating ex-offenders back into society. BY
Politics

Texas’ Next Governor? Meet Greg Abbott

The Attorney General is poised to beat Democrat Wendy Davis in the state's nationally watched and heated governor's race, but most Texans know very little about him. BY
Infrastructure & Environment

States Reinvest in Once-Abandoned Freight Lines

In the past year, several states have either created or rekindled grant programs dedicated to improving freight service. BY
Health & Human Services

States Aren’t the Only Ones Reforming Health Care

Some of the most promising experiments to improve quality of care while cutting expenses are taking place at the local level. BY
Management & Labor

Forget Technology; Denver Turns to Its Employees to Fix Problems

Instead of looking for better results through data analytics, new technology or paid consultants, Denver looks to its own employees for simple, straightforward reforms. BY

POLITICS + POLICY

Infrastructure & Environment

Cincinnati Opts to Move Forward with Streetcar After All

After Mayor John Cranley campaigned on opposition to the project, he announces "we're going to have a streetcar." BY
Politics

California Rethinks Term Limits, Again

California voters eased restrictions in 2012 on how long lawmakers can serve. The changes are already helping some think more about the future when crafting policies. BY
Finance

A Victim Himself, Georgia’s Revenue Commissioner Tackles Tax Fraud

In 2012, the federal government issued $5.2 billion in tax refunds to people who falsified their identity. Georgia found a way to keep that money out of scammers’ pockets. BY
Public Safety & Justice

Copper and Robbers

More than half the states enacted laws to combat metal theft last year, but there’s little analysis of which legislative policies actually work. BY
Dispatch

When Social Media Hits Home

How one agency handled a tragedy as it unfolded live on Twitter. BY
Assessments

Would We All Be Better Off If Mayors Ruled the World?

It’s a tempting idea, but cities simply don’t have the power to do what most of their residents want them to do. BY
Potomac Chronicle

How the Feds Finally Reduced Crime on Indian Reservations

The feds set a goal of reducing crime on tribal reservations by 5 percent. Here’s how they brought it down by more than 700 percent. BY
FedWatch

How Salt Lake City Solved Chronic Veteran Homelessness

Officials in Salt Lake City say that by the end of this month, they will have zero chronically homeless veterans. BY
Health & Human Services

All Policies Are Health Policies

For every future project the District of Columbia undertakes, it will ask the same question: How does this impact the public’s health? BY
Infrastructure & Environment

Solar Gardens: A Subscription to the Sun

75 percent of Americans can’t put solar panels on their property. Community-owned solar gardens allow those people to take advantage of renewable energy for a fraction of the cost, but they need state and local support to grow. BY
Economic Engines

America’s Days of Dreaming Big Are Over

The United States once dreamed of building great things – like a library in every city – and made those dreams come true. But not anymore. BY
Urban Notebook

Should Cities Run Subways Later to Attract Young Professionals?

Late-night transit options may make a city more attractive to younger generations, but running trains around the clock has its drawbacks. BY

PROBLEM SOLVER

Management & Labor

Pension Reforms Push Employees Out the Door in Some States

An analysis of retirement data finds that pension reforms contributed to significantly more workers filing retirement paperwork in at least six states. BY
Smart Management

3 Ways to Keep Public Employees from Leaving

The turnover rate among young state employees is rising. Raising pay might be a way to change that, but it’s not a practical one. BY
Better Government

Why Governments Need to Treat Labor Unions with Respect

For one town, dealing honestly with its unions paid off. BY
Tech Talk

Government Needs to Rethink How They Attract IT Talent

Most agencies can’t match private-sector pay, and governments can no longer depend on superior benefits packages as a recruiting tool. BY
Public Money

This Annual Financial Report Says What?

If there’s a bright side to governments’ money problems, it’s that it’s forcing them to use plain English to talk about their finances. BY
Infrastructure & Environment

February 2014 Last Look: Sun Spot

This 20-foot sculpture is made from 90,000 stainless steel pet tags. BY

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