Learn the latest public administration news in today's edition of The Bridge!

May 22, 2019

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In This Issue:

Do Tax Breaks Help or Hurt a State’s Finances? New Study Digs Deep
Originally printed in Governing.com

The debate over tax incentives usually centers on whether they lead to job creation and other economic benefits. But governments must also pay attention to their own bottom lines. This begs the question: How do all the financial incentives that states offer actually influence fiscal health?

New research seeks to answer that question. Using data from the W.E. Upjohn Institute for Employment Research, researchers at North Carolina State University tallied all incentives offered by 32 states from 1990 to 2015, effectively covering 90 percent of incentives nationally. What they found does not portray incentives in a positive light. Most of the programs they looked at—investment tax credits, property tax abatements and tax credits for research and development—were linked with worse overall fiscal health for the jurisdiction that enacted them.

"It's not that incentives are bad or that we shouldn't use incentives," says [ASPA member] Bruce McDonald, an NC State associate professor who led the research team. "But if a state or local government is going to provide an incentive, there needs to be some kind of clarity on what the realistic expectations are for what they might get back."

The forthcoming study represents what is likely the first large-scale national analysis examining how various incentives influence state finances. To assess fiscal health, McDonald's team considered three measures: state debt, dependence on the federal government as a source of revenue and the ratio of total expenditures to revenues. They further controlled for 17 other factors, including economic growth, demographics and political party control.

The incentive most associated with weaker state fiscal health across all metrics was research and development tax credits. McDonald says this is because research and development, when successful, generates broader effects on the national economy but may leave the individual communities in a sponsoring state out of the boom.

The study found a smaller negative fiscal effect from property tax abatements, which include states' picking up the bill for corporate relocations. As governments abate property taxes, they become increasingly reliant on income taxes, sales taxes or other more volatile sources of revenue that pose greater risks for budgets.

Job-creation tax breaks—accounting for the single largest portion of total incentive spending—did not yield a statistically significant relationship with fiscal health. "It might be that the new people employed are providing a positive contribution back to the state through the taxes," McDonald says, "but I suspect it becomes a wash as the taxes pay back what was spent on the incentives."

Nationally, tax incentives as a share of state and local business taxes nearly tripled between 1990 and the early 2000s, according to Upjohn Institute research. More recently, that number has not fluctuated very much. Some states have curbed their awards while others have become more aggressive, keeping the aggregate share roughly the same.

Of the states McDonald's team studied, those relying most on financial incentives between 2013 and 2015 were Iowa, Louisiana, New Mexico, New York and Pennsylvania. (The study measured incentives as a percentage of the value added by a state's industries, which represents the value of products produced beyond costs of materials.) In terms of weakened fiscal health, the state with the highest average ratio of expenses to revenues was Alabama, followed by Kentucky, Louisiana, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania. Nevada and Oregon, two states with especially strong economic growth in recent years, recorded the most favorable ratios.

States can better predict expenses by regularly forecasting and monitoring incentive programs. They can control costs in a number of ways, such as by setting caps, requiring companies to meet specific benchmarks, and funding incentives through budget appropriations rather than open-ended commitments, recommends Mark Robyn, who studies incentives at the Pew Charitable Trusts.

Certainly, incentives may generate new tax revenue from economic activity. But it is important to consider that this comes at a cost, as new jobs and other gains result in greater demand for government services. "When considering incentives," Robyn says, "policymakers should also be aware of the full range of budget impacts beyond the 'sticker cost' of the incentive."

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"Organizing for Results"

GovExec's Eric Katz, one of the reporters who joined ASPA's media panel at the 2019 Annual Conference, has written a new e-book looking at government organization.

As the beginning of the e-book notes, experts today would not design the federal government organization as it is currently, but it is incumbent on the civil service to use the government we have and improve it where needed. The e-book looks at five areas of the government that are in need of reform:

  • Rethinking the workforce
  • Shifting resources to the border
  • Boosting salaries to attract critical workers
  • Rebalancing a decimated workforce
  • Taking a new look at compensation

The e-book highlights case studies throughout to bring special focus to agencies and entities that are struggling more than others, including Customs and Border Patrol, Transportation Security Administration and the Internal Revenue Service.

Download the e-book here.

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E-Learning Takes You to the Next Level

ASPA's e-learning opportunities are ongoing throughout the year. Averaging 75 attendees per live event and free for anyone to participate, these events provide you with valuable insights and information at your fingertips. Visit our website to stay informed about all upcoming webinars including KeepingCurrent, BookTalks and the Student and New Professionals Series.

ASPA's e-learning program will have a thematic focus for each month of the 2019-2020 presidential year, beginning with this month's focus on governance. (June will focus on leadership and management.) ASPA President Paul Danczyk recorded a special video about this month's content and other events taking place. Click on the graphic below to view the video.

Click above to load the video in your web browser.

Upcoming Webinars:
KeepingCurrent: The Federal Performance Agenda: What Happens in the Coming Year?
May 23 | 1 p.m.
Mark Bussow, U.S. Office of Management and Budget
John Kamensky, The IBM Center for The Business of Government

The White House Office of Management and Budget's Federal Performance Framework, created in 2012, is the first performance framework to survive a transition between presidential administrations. We'll take a look at the framework and how it is used. We'll also look at a variety of elements within the broader web of federal decision-support capacities, including the budget process, the financial management system, the use of evaluation and evidence, the risk management framework and more. Given recent statutory requirements that created many of these elements since the performance framework was put in place, what are potential directions for rethinking the federal government's decision-support functions in coming years? Join us for this informative discussion.

Student and New Professional Series: Mental Health in Academia
May 30 | 1 p.m.
Michael Bednarczuk, Ohio University—Chillicothe
Ana-Maria Dimand, Moderator, Student Representative, American Society for Public Administration

In honor of May being Mental Health Awareness Month, we're hosting this special extra webinar for our students and new professionals—folks who may be especially prone to mental health struggles as they finish their studies and head into public service. Did you know that thoes in grad school are six times more likely to experience depression or anxiety, and that those challenges can extend well into adulthood? If you struggle with mental health issues brought on by grad school, this is the webinar for you. Join your peers for an open dialogue about the pressures of graduate school and beyond, and the real mental health struggles that accompany it.
For those who would like to ensure their participation is anonymous, please contact us for assistance. We will treat any inquiries as confidential.

BookTalk: New Public Leadership: Making a Difference from Where We Sit
June 6 | 1 p.m.

Most leadership literature stems from and focuses on the private sector, emphasizing personal qualities that bind leaders and followers to a shared purpose. As the authors of New Public Leadership argue, if these shared purposes do not build trust and legitimacy in public institutions, such traditional leadership tropes fall short of the standard demanded by contemporary public servants. This resource provides readers with a basic understanding of democratic institutions, encouraging them to work within and across multiple vertical and horizontal systems of authority.

Video of the Month: Data Analytics
May's e-learning video of the month comes from the 2019 Annual Conference. Focusing on data analytics, Mallory Barg Bullman (The Partnership for Public Service) and Andrew Feldman (Grant Thornton) lead an excellent panel of speakers as they dive into how data analytics are best introduced into government agencies and fine-tuned for proper implementation and usage. This video is approximately 45 minutes, so put aside a lunch hour to listen to this important subject! Click here to access the video.

Looking for more resources? Find a full list of analytics-related resources on our website to supplement the video.

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Focus on Membership: Webinar Archives Yield Hidden Treasure

If you have not accessed ASPA's webinar archive before, the summer is a great time to do so! Filled with more than 130 hours of webinars dating back to 2015, topics cover a wide range of interests within public administration. From book discussions to career development to current events, with all topics up for grabs, this is an extensive treasure trove of information you can use for your career or your personal interest areas!

ASPA's theme this month is governance; in that light, below are three noteworthy webinars you can find in the archives that look at this subject.

The Trump Administration Government Improvement Efforts: What the Experts Think: In partnership with ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance, this webinar was recorded in September 2018 and looked at issues related to outcome-focused goals and performance data, as well as how the Trump administration had employed proven practices. Speakers included representatives of the Volcker Alliance, U.S. Government Accountability Office and Grant Thornton. Access the webinar online here.

Emerging Challenges and Opportunities with Open Data in Government: Also in partnership with ASPA's Center for Accountability and Performance, this webinar addressed the evolution of open data as it relates to government services. It focused on perspectives from the Government Accountability Office, the State of Connecticut and a former City of Seattle open data expert. Access this webinar online here.

The Art of Being a Trimtab: Entrepreneurship in Government: In partnership with ASPA's Section on Science and Technology in Government, this webinar looked at entrepreneurship, especially as it related to smart cities. Sharing lessons from Boston’s Mayor's Office of New Urban Mechanics, this webinar gives a great snapshot of local governance. Access the webinar online here.

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Celebrate Spring with a Special Discount on PublicServiceCareers.org

There are still 10 days left in the month of May, which means there's plenty of time for your university or organization to take advantage of a steep discount on job postings on ASPA's PublicServiceCareers.org website!

More than 10 years ago, ASPA partnered with NASPAA and APPAM to start a joint job board, PublicServiceCareers.org. Throughout the past decade, more than 6,500 job ads have been posted and countless professionals in public service and public service education have found their perfect job match at our government entities, discipline universities and other public service organizations. Across that same span of time, hundreds of thousands of unique visitors have come to the site and been educated about trends in public service employment and salaries, as well as provided with the latest professional job opportunities.

The discount for postings (just $100 for a 30-day posting) will expire on May 31! (Contact us for the code.)

To post a position, visit the website and click through the "basic posting" category, entering your coupon code when prompted.

PublicServiceCarers.org: Where the best public service jobs meet the best candidates online!

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ASPA President Looks to Engage with Chapters

If you are a Chapter leader, or are active in your local Chapter, this news is for you!

ASPA 2019-2020 president Paul Danczyk is focusing on engaging with our nationwide structure of Chapters throughout his presidential year. Looking to recognize the great work our Chapters are doing, he is eager to be a part of it with you.

Paul will be taking several trips across the country to be at in-person Chapter events (ASPA staff will be reaching out to some of you to schedule those events), but he is also happy to participate in your meetings and gatherings via teleconference, Zoom or other remote options.

If you are interested in having Paul join you for a future Chapter event, contact ASPA communications and membership chief Karen Garrett for more information and to coordinate Paul's participation.

Our Chapters are ASPA's lifeblood. We cannot advance our mission without your efforts at the local level. Make the most of this opportunity to have Paul be a part of your mission and engage with your local efforts!

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In the News

Today's headlines contain plenty of news coverage of some of our nation's most pressing public administration challenges. ASPA has curated some of the most important stories from the past few weeks. If you have not seen these yet, make sure you read them now!


Public Finance

Public Service/Governance

Social Equity

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In Memoriam

Alice Rivlin, a leading government economist who founded the Congressional Budget Office and served as budget director during the Clinton administration, passed away on May 14, 2019. She was 88.

Rivlin held many leadership positions throughout her career, including vice chairwoman of the Federal Reserve and head of Washington, DC's Financial Management Assistance Authority, credited with bringing the nation's capital back from the brink of insolvency. A leading figure at the Brookings Institution, in academia and on Capitol Hill, Rivlin was a go-to author for editorials in The Washington Post; she served as a columnist for the Los Angeles Times.

An ASPA member who was deeply involved with Society activities over a decades-long span, Rivlin was born in Philadelphia, attended Bryn Mawr College for her undergraduate studies and received her doctorate from Harvard. She is survived by her husband, Sidney Winter, three children and four grandchildren.

Tributes have been published in a wide variety of outlets including The New York Times, Bloomberg, The Washington Post, the Brookings Institution, where her death was announced, and the Volcker Alliance.

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Welcome New ASPA Members!
Click here to view the most recent new ASPA members!

Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities Takes Place This June

The XXV Inter-American Conference of Mayors and Local Authorities will be hosted in Miami this June 17-20, exploring the theme, "Building the Communities of Tomorrow: Economic Development, Resilience and Sustainability." Sponsored by Florida International University, among others, the conference will bring together more than 500 mayors, councilors, members of national and international legislative bodies, governors, NGOs and others to discuss issues relevant to strengthening subnational governments in Latin America. The conference will have special sessions where successful experiences of strengthening municipal public management aimed at improving service delivery and equity at the local level throughout Latin America will be presented. Keynote speeches will be delivered by Luis Alberto Moreno, president of the Inter-American Development Bank and Marcelo Giugale, director of the Financial Advisory and Banking Department of the World Bank. Those interested in attending are welcome to register. Click here for more information.

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NISPAcee 2019 Annual Conference Takes Place This Week

The 27th NISPAcee Annual Conference will take place May 24-26, 2019 in Prague, Czech Republic. Organized in cooperation with Charles University, Prague and Masaryk University, Brno, the main conference theme will be, "From Policy Design to Policy Practice." Click here for more information.

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AAPAM Call for Papers: 40th Roundtable Conference

The African Association for Public Administration and Management has released its call for papers for its 40th Roundtable Conference, taking place this October in Cairo, Egypt. Focusing on the theme, "Innovation, Transforming Institutions in Africa for Sustainable Development," this conference will look at accountability and inclusivity in institutions toward driving Agenda 2065 and the United Nations' new Agenda 2030 Sustainable Development Goals. Papers are welcomed from practitioners, scholars and researchers that will ignite conversations on how to actualize continental and worldwide development goals. All abstracts are due by May 30, 2019. Email [email protected] or click here for more information.

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Information Polity Call for Papers

The journal, Information Polity, has issued a call for papers for a special issue focusing on "Public Governance and Policy in the Sharing Era." The journal proposes to take stock of the major strands of the sharing economy debates and initiate a broad research agenda on the nexus between sharing economy and the public sector. The sharing economy shifts focus from how information and communications technologies can enhance organizational performance and citizen engagement. Sharing economy fundamentally affects the broader economic and governance processes. Papers could deal with topics including challenges and opportunities of sharing economy for public sector; impact of sharing economy on governance; policy determinants of sharing economy’s growth; planning and zoning changes in sharing economy; public service delivery in the sharing age; equity issues in the sharing economy; among others. All proposal abstracts are due by June 1. Contact Sukumar Ganapati and Christopher G. Reddick for more information.

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Social Equity Leadership Conference Around the Corner

The 18th Annual Social Equity Leadership Conference (SELC), co-sponsored by the National Academy of Public Administration (NAPA) and the School of Public Affairs and Administration (SPAA) at Rutgers University—Newark, will take place June 5-7, 2019. Reflecting the increasing polarization of society and the reality that achieving social equity continues to be one of the most vexing challenges facing the world today, the theme of this year's conference is "Achieving Social Equity in Turbulent Times: A Grand Public Administration Challenge.” Click here for more information.

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2019 NECOPA Call for Papers Expires June 20

NECOPA 2019 has launched its call for papers for this year's conference, also the 10th anniversary of the conference, which will be held at LIU-Brooklyn, November 8-10 in Brooklyn, NY. Public governance is now tasked with building more inclusive societies for sustainable development that ensures social justice for all and requires public institutions to be both effective and accountable. Governance for sustainability means governance for a future that reflects values inherent to public service, leading with innovation in public administration. As we convene the 2019 Northeast Conference on Public Administration with a public service just as under pressure as it was 10 years ago, we seek to address innovative ways in which public administrators can tackle wicked problems during fiscal stress and turbulent governance. All proposals are due by June 15, 2019. Interested in sponsoring part of this event? Contact Gina Scutelnicu for details. Click here for more information.

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2019 MPAC/TPAC Call for Proposals Expires June 20

The 2019 Midwest Public Affairs Conference (MPAC) and ASPA's Section on Public Administration Education's 2019 Teaching Public Administration Conference (TPAC) will be held jointly in Indianapolis, September 19-20, 2019. Hosted by Indiana University’s School of Public and Environmental Affairs, the conference will celebrate the diversity of public administration theory, praxis and pedagogy in a time of social change and upheaval. Proposals for both conferences are due by June 20, 2019. Click here for more information about MPAC; and here for more information about TPAC.

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2019 Transatlantic Dialogue this October; Call for Papers Open

The 2019 Transatlantic Dialogue will be taking place October 20-22 at Rutgers University—Newark, cohosted by the Marxe School of Public and International Affairs at Baruch College, City University of New York. The theme will be, "Restoring the Administrative State: Trust, Engagement, Security and Identity." The event will feature five workshops: government performance, citizen engagement, public communication, digital and physical security, and demographic change. All proposals are due by August 15. Click here for more information.

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Call for Papers: Public Money and Management Theme on "Developing Civil Servants"

Building, developing and retaining an impartial, efficient and effective civil service to work for parliaments is a major problem in many countries, particularly since austerity management was introduced following the global financial crisis. This Public Money and Management (PMM) theme, also the subject of PMM Live! 2019, which will be held in the House of Lords on November 7, will present a collection of articles on the latest thinking on how to achieve transparency and fairness in government and not just create a paid service that can "speak truth unto power" but also one that is capable of managing major projects, commissioning services and demonstrating creativity and enterprise. Submissions of debate articles, new development articles and full papers are invited (see the PMM website or ask Michaela Lavender for author notes). Articles can include all aspects of civil service development, for example: recruitment, retention, training, secondments, appraisals and career management. Submissions are due by August 30 to PMM's managing editor, Michaela Lavender.

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2019 SECoPA This September

The 2019 Southeast Conference for Public Administration (SECoPA) will take place September 5-7 in Baton Rouge. This year's theme will be, "Advancing Public Administration Research and Practice in a Time of Instability and Change." Since 1969, SECoPA has been the gathering place of ideas for public service practitioners, researchers and students in its 10-state region. The conference offers attendees the opportunity to engage in scholarly discourse, discover the latest innovations, share ideas from practitioners in the field and network with other public service administrators across the region. Click here for more information.

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2019 EGPA Takes Place This September

The 2019 EGPA Conference will take place September 11-13, 2019 in Belfast, to be preceded by the EGPA Symposium for PhD Students and young researchers, which takes place September 9-10. This year's theme looks at "Public Administration Across Borders." Click here for more information.

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AAPAM 2nd International Conference This October

AAPAM's second international conference on governance and service delivery in developing economies will be held October 22-26, 2019 in Kampala, Uganda, around the theme, "Accountability, Innovations, and Quality Public Services Delivery." The conference will provide an arena for scholars, researchers and practitioners from diverse public management disciplines to collectively explore innovative solutions to quality of service delivery in Africa. Contact [email protected] for registration details. Click here for more information (scroll through to October double-click on the event).

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COMPA Issues Call for Papers

The Conference of Minority Public Administrators (COMPA) will hold its 2020 Annual Conference in Atlanta, February 26-20, 2020, looking at the theme, "2020 VISION: Refocusing, Reforming, and Restoring Public Service Values and Governance." This year's conference theme is a call to action for public service leaders to embody and exemplify ASPA's core four values; accountability and performance, professionalism, ethics and social equity in our service to the profession and to the citizenry. The theme highlights the courageous work of those who, despite the political, social and economic climax, are using their voice, research and efforts to positively affect and make a significant difference in their respective spheres of influence, communities and the nation. Twelve tracks provide a framework for the conference. The conference program committee welcomes proposals for high-quality conceptual papers, qualitative and quantitative empirical research papers, and policy- and practice-oriented papers, as well as complete panel submissions consisting of no more than four papers. Panel submissions should bring together complementary papers that address similar research questions or topics and provide information on the overall theme of the panel to indicate how each of the proposed papers connects to the panel's theme. Proposals from individuals at all stages of their careers are welcome. Proposals and poster presentations by graduate students are particularly encouraged. The deadline for submission of proposals is December 14, 2019. Email your proposals to [email protected]. Click here for more information.

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PAR Update

Check out the below Early View articles released this past March and April!

Do Politicians See Eye to Eye? The Relationship between Political Group Characteristics, Perceived Strategic Plan Quality, and Strategic Consensus in Local Governing Majorities
Kenn Meyfroodt, Sebastian Desmidt and Stijn Goeminne

From Research Evidence to "Evidence by Proxy"? Organizational Enactment of Evidence-Based Health Care in Four High‐Income Countries
Roman Kislov, Paul Wilson, Greta Cummings, Anna Ehrenberg, Wendy Gifford, Janet Kelly, Alison Kitson, Lena Pettersson, Lars Wallin and Gill Harvey

Corporatization in the Public Sector: Explaining the Growth of Local Government Companies
Rhys Andrews, Laurence Ferry, Chris Skelcher and Piotr Wegorowski

Ethics by Design: The Impact of Form of Government on Municipal Corruption
Kimberly L. Nelson and Whitney B. Afonso

Measuring and Managing Ex Ante Transaction Costs in Public Sector Contracting
Ole Helby Petersen, Erik Baekkeskov, Matthew Potoski and Trevor L. Brown

Leveraging Administrative Data to Better Serve Children and Families
Robert L. Fischer, Francisca García‐Cobián Richter, Elizabeth Anthony, Nina Lalich and Claudia Coulton

E‐participation Opportunities and the Ambiguous Role of Corruption: A Model of Municipal Responsiveness to Sociopolitical Factors
Alex Ingrams and Hindy Lauer Schachter

Viewpoint Articles
From Policy to Practice: From Ideas to Results, From Results to Trust
Donald F. Kettl

The Rise of Public–Private Partnerships in China: An Effective Financing Approach for Infrastructure Investment?
Jie Tan and Jerry Zhirong Zhao

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New on PA TIMES Online

Every Monday and Friday, ASPA publishes a curated collection of original content that covers public service, management and international affairs.

This quarter, we welcome submissions that focus on public service/civil service reform. Send your contributions to us at any time; the deadline is rolling. Contact us for more information.

Check out our recent articles and columns:

Prioritizing Public Budget Allocations: The Politics Involved in the United States and Egypt
By Laila El Baradei

Spend a Dollar, Save More Than a Dollar—Public Health
By Courtney Haun

Time to Get Serious about the United States National Debt
By Stephen R. Rolandi

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Find your next career opportunity at publicservicecareers.org. This online job board is the perfect resource for making a career change or landing your first job in the public service. It lists dozens of positions in academia, government and the nonprofit sector. Below are just a few current listings.

City Manager – Muskegon Heights, MI

Dean of the School of Economic, Political and Policy Sciences – University of Texas at Dallas, Dallas, TX

Clinical Assistant/Associate/Full Professor, School of Public Service – logo Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA

American Society for Public Administration
1730 Rhode Island Ave., NW, Suite 500, Washington, DC 20036

Please send inquiries to Managing Editor Karen E. T. Garrett.