Cover Story

Can Tough Love Help Reduce Poverty?

By making it more difficult to get and keep government assistance like welfare, Kansas and a half-dozen other states are hoping people will make more of an effort to lift themselves out of poverty.



Public-Private Partnerships Are Popular, But Are They Practical?

Public-private partnerships have become a trendy way to finance transportation projects. But there are big questions to ask before entering into a P3. BY

Putting Psychology to Work in the Public Sector

Three new books offer public officials insights into how people make judgments — and how institutions can make better decisions. BY

Massachusetts’ Big Bet on Performance-Based College Funding

The Bay State is hoping its aggressive funding plan for community colleges will close its job skills gap. But not everyone is convinced. BY

PHOTOS: How Governments Are Using Instagram

The photo-sharing app isn't just for artfully filtered food pics. Governments are increasingly using Instagram to connect with citizens. BY



Lessons from Natwar Gandhi, the Nation’s Most Independent CFO

As the District of Columbia’s CFO for more than decade, Natwar Gandhi’s turnaround story has been the envy of other financially struggling cities. BY

For Some in Government, ‘Effective’ Is the New ‘Efficient’

Some say striving for efficiency only sets governments up for problems. BY

One Office, Two (Sometimes Competing) Interests

Oklahoma is one of only a few states in which one executive oversees both cornfields and oil fields. BY

Shutdown Puts Republican Governors in Tricky Spot

Many GOP governors oppose Obamacare, but they don't want their own states to suffer from a shutdown. BY

Meter Shock in Cincinnati

Privatizing parking meters was a disaster for Chicago. So why is Cincinnati doing it? BY

Public Officials and the Internet’s Cloak of Anonymity

After watching some of their peers get into messy mishaps, public officials are increasingly avoiding traceable channels of communication like email, social media and online commenting. BY

The New Obamacare-Inspired States’ Rights Movement

The latest movement isn't so much a policy disagreement about health care as it is a no-holds-barred war for the future direction of domestic policy. BY

Obamacare's Cadillac Tax Forces a Tough Decision on Governments

The law's new excise tax on high-cost health insurance plans leaves government officials with three choices -- all of which have undesirable consequences. BY

Is Obamacare the Reason Governments Are Scaling Back Part-Timers?

Municipalities across the country are cutting part-time workers' hours. Some say it's because of the new health insurance mandate, but others say doing so will actually cost governments more money. BY

Portland's Testing a Greener Kind of P3

If it’s successful, it could drastically change how environmental projects are funded by states and localities. BY

How to Stop a City's Cycle of Decline

Troubled cities need to look honestly at their trajectory and forecast for the future -- or else they may become the next Detroit. BY

Why Some Cities Fail Despite State Intervention

Camden, N.J., one of America's poorest cities, has received hundreds of millions of dollars in state aid to keep it going. Yet by most measures, it's still failing. BY



Oil Boom Fuels Fastest-Growing Metro Area, But at a Price

Midland, Texas, ranks at or near the top of the list in every measure of recent economic and population growth. See how your area compares. BY

Ideas for Coping with Brain Drain in the Public Sector

Facing a wave of retirements, governments are looking for new ways to build up the expertise and knowledge of people coming up in the organization. BY
On Leadership

Why the 3 Fundamentals of Governance Are So Important

Bridgeport, Conn., illustrates why governance, debt and demographics are so crucial for a healthy functioning city. BY

The Real Root of Obamacare’s IT Problems

All of the legal and legislative challenges to Obamacare leading up to the opening of the health insurance marketplaces would have wreaked havoc on any IT project. BY

Judges: The True Pension Referees in Bankruptcy Cases

When a city is bankrupt, judges have a big say in whose bills will be paid. For now, all eyes are on Detroit and San Bernardino, Calif. BY

November 2013 Last Look: Playboy Killed the Prada Marfa

Following a precedent set by a Playboy installation that was deemed an unlicensed advertisement, Texas ordered the demolition of an iconic art installation. BY

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