STRATEGIC BUSINESS RESEARCH
Finding and delivering the critical information you need, when you need it.
Sometimes, a single fact can truly change the course of events.
Deep research provides a critical advantage in business, politics and legal battles. To answer claims, overcome a challenge or achieve other important goals, Behan’s Strategic Business Research team quickly ferrets out documents, records and facts and analyzes crucial information to provide a winning edge.
Behan’s researchers know what to look for, where to find it, and how to tie together often-disparate facts to provide a comprehensive picture and actionable information. Using proprietary databases, publicly available records, and an intuitive understanding of what’s important (and what’s not), our strategic business research team prides itself on turning up surprising information of benefit to our clients.
Reducing School Taxes for a Large Property Owner
A large property owner and employer in a small community believed local school district taxes were increasing at an unsustainable rate, and were not reflective of actual costs. The belief was shared by many in the community, but had no basis beyond a vague “sense” of over-taxation. School district officials had explained away significant annual tax increases as being the result of mandated expenses and a lack of efficiencies of scale found in larger districts.
Behan Communications Strategic Business Research team took a dispassionate, systematic approach to reviewing tax levies, budgets, student enrollments, district geography and demographics. A review of the data — all publicly available — demonstrated taxpayers across the school district were hit with a cumulative 75% increase in the tax levy over a 10-year period, compared with a cumulative inflation rate of 22% for the same period. The data also showed the district’s recent one-year tax increase of 10.9% was the highest among similarly sized districts, while 14 other similarly situated districts sought increases of less than 1%. The district’s employee benefits costs had been increasing at a faster rate than neighboring districts, while its share of federal and state aid decreased, relative to other districts.
A detailed report on the findings, presented in straightforward language with simple data charts, was provided to the client in advance of the school budget vote. Though in previous years the budget had sailed to victory with more than 60% approval, this time it was defeated by more than 60% of voters.
But more importantly — the following year, the school district proposed the sharpest decrease in tax levy across the state (a 10% decrease), and one of the largest proposed budget reductions (a 2% decrease).
Dismissing Unfounded Assertions of Risk with Hard Data and Irrefutable Facts
An employer involved in transporting regulated waste was faced with a campaign by a small but vocal group of residents who wanted the company kicked out of the county. Local elected leaders were questioning the safety of the materials handled by the firm.
Behan Communications’ Strategic Business Research team researched state licenses and registrations of entities handling regulated and hazardous waste in the region, and reviewed the state’s data regarding our client’s transportation record.
The data showed others across the county — from local hospitals; community and state colleges; the electric utility; the state DOT office and retailers — were similarly licensed to transport a variety of hazardous wastes in the area. The data further showed our client’s safety record in transporting material was as good or better than most others. The argument that our client’s activities were unusual and created a significant safety hazard was dismissed by the publicly available data aggregated by Behan Communications.
Identifying Unfair Bidding Practices in Public Contracts
Work performed routinely by a firm with a long-term contract to provide services to New York State was put out to bid. The incumbent firm, which had received praise for its work from state agency officials, submitted a bid, as did other competitors. The state chose a competitor, with a higher price, citing new “security measures” for the work that were not referenced in the original request for proposals, and were only addressed by the one successful bidder.
Behan Communications’ Strategic Business Research team was hired by the firm that had previously performed the work to assist in understanding this unexpected development. Data reviewed from various state agency records uncovered a disparity in the winning firm’s lobbying records, and raised questions regarding the timing of a meeting with administration officials relative to the awarding of the contract.