Best Laid Plans: Getting the Biggest Bang for Tax Bucks

Madeline Janis is the co-founder and current director of LAANE (Los Angeles Alliance for a New Economy.) LAANE negotiated the first big CBA–revolving around the construction of the Staples Center in Los Angeles.

Here are her thoughts on five key rules of thumb for crafting a good deal and making sure that shrinking public resources are invested wisely:

1. Know what you want for the program or the project.

2. Act like an investor, with taxpayers as your shareholders.
a. have underwriting guidelines like a bank does.
b. drive a hard bargain.

3. Imagine the worst and write the agreement from that perspective.

4. Make sure that everything is signed, sealed and delivered before final public approval.

5. Be sure that the systems are in place to monitor compliance with the agreement and to evaluate results of the investment.


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