Fall 1996

Counterpoints

Charles Baker is right that welfare needs fixing, and he’s right that states (on average) are better innovators than Washington. If that ended the story, block grants might indeed beat the recent alternative of state experimentation within national guidelines. But there’s more to it than he concedes. “Things can’t get worse” is a testable hypothesis.(...)

Read More »

Crime Control

Total number of sworn police officers in state and local law enforcement agencies (1992) Rank State (Top 25, plus New England) Total number of officers Total number of officers per 10,000 residents 1. DC 4,396 74.2 2. New York 58,204 32.1 3. New Jersey 23,807 30.6 4. Illinois 30,694 26.4 5. Maryland 12,082 24.6 6.(...)

Read More »

Argument

Before heading off to Chicago for the Democratic Convention this summer, President Clinton had to decide whether to sign the welfare reform legislation sent to him by Congress. In the end, the President chose to support a block grant approach to welfare reform and sign the bill, thereby allowing state governments to create a multitude(...)

Read More »

Vermont Puts Nonviolent Criminals to Work

Building contractor Jeff Goodwin is standing in front of the glittering surface of the municipal pool in St. Johnsbury, Vermont. While teen-agers take turns diving into the rumpled iridescent water and younger children wade in the shallow end, Goodwin points out renovations done to the pavilion, a neat little cedar-shingled structure that is maintained by(...)

Read More »

Who Votes

Suppose state government–or a high-minded philanthropist–awarded a special grant to communities that demonstrate stellar records of high voter turnout. Which Massachusetts cities and towns would be in the running? Who would win the Most Voter Participation (MVP) award, or the Gold Cup of Electoral Responsibility? A CommonWealth survey of voter turnout statistics from the 1992(...)

Read More »

The Veto Game

One of the facts of political life for Governor William Weld during the 1995-96 session of the legislature has been that, even if he had every fellow Republican in the State House backing him up, the Democrat-controlled House and Senate have the numbers to override his veto at will. Weld objected strenuously to a bill(...)

Read More »

Representation without Faxation

As any reporter, lobbyist, or campaign manager knows, trying to get a document by fax from a State House office or committee when the legislature is in session can be an experience that tries one’s patience–and keeps courier companies in business. It turns out not to be as easy as one might think. In the(...)

Read More »

Presidential Campaign Fund Plummets

Twenty years since public financing of presidential campaigns began, taxpayer contributions to the Presidential Election Campaign Fund are at their lowest level since the program’s first year. Taxpayers just aren’t checking the box on their tax forms–even though it doesn’t cost them a dime. Of the 16.1 million individuals and couples who filed federal income(...)

Read More »