Tuesday, February 01, 2005

We're # 48! We're # 48!

The Government Performance Project has released the results of its state-by-state report cards, and the results aren't pretty.

New Hampshire received a grade of C, whcih places it at number 48, beating out the two states that drew a C- grade.

One of the ironies of this ranking is the fact that NH received poor marks for its information management processes. NH is perhaps the most techno-savvy state in the country, with an ungodly percentage of our residents employed in IT, softweare and related fields, and yet we seem to have enormous trouble when it comes to using technology to spur better governmental management practices.

I am glad that this survey was made public. There is a myth that NH is a utopia of frugality and efficiency, when we actually careen back and forth between being cheap and being foolish. The near absence of performance-based criteria is a long standing source of irritation for me and many of my colleagues. The end result is a system where the debate degenerates into "you hate children" versus "your a big spender", with little or no discussion of the actual substance of the underlying policy issues. It's insular, small-bore silliness. We can do better, and it is high time to demand as much from our elected leaders.

(Tip of the hat to Greg Wythe for the link!)