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"Financial resources are yet another of the critical ingredients that turn policy into results that matter in the lives of a state's population, from environmental protection to education, health and transportation," writes the Pew Center on the States in Grading the States 2008.
"To gauge how well a state is functioning in the Money category, the Government
Performance Project team evaluated the degree to which a state takes a long-term perspective on fiscal matters, the timeliness and transparency of the budget process, the balance between revenues and expenditures, and the effectiveness of a state's contracting, purchasing, financial controls and reporting mechanisms."
Can you guess the states with the best financial performance in the survey? (Hint: Do not guess New Jersey, which received a letter grade of C-minus.) Utah is tops in the nation with an A, followed by Delaware, Nebraska, Virginia and Washington, all with A-minus.
The top states were marked by "transparency in transactions and public access to state fiscal information (which have) become two of the leading indicators of a state that is functioning well in this area. Several promising new practices in real-time tracking of statewide expenditures and budgeting decisions, as well as joint executive and legislative revenue forecasting approaches..."
Oh, well. Perhaps we'll score better for "Infrastructure," how a state maintains,
improves and plans for future physical needs, including roads, bridges and buildings. Nope. Utah is tops again, followed by Florida, Kentucky and Michigan. Us? C-Plus.
Well, we've got to do better in "Information Technology," right? After all, we're wired and oh, so savvy. (Insert sound of buzzer here.) Wrong again! We're a consistent C student -- C-minus in this case.
"Advances in information technology offer the promise of propelling every organization into the future. (The study) examined how well state officials deploy technology and the information it produces to measure the resource effectiveness and results produced by state programs, make budget and other management decisions, and communicate with one another as well as with the public.
"Growing demands for public sector transparency and for public access to services 24/7 are spurring a new level of creativity in meeting citizens' legitimate needs, as well as improving internal business processes."
Michigan, Missouri, Utah, Virginia and Washington all earned As.
The silver lining in the Pew report? If the next governor fails to make headway on these issues and others, at least we'll know where to move.
Who to blame?
1 day ago