03/09/2008 - The drama of this winter's presidential campaign obscures the fact that for most of us, the government services that most directly affect our lives are delivered from state capitols or city halls.
That's why, at the first break in many months on the primary calendar, I went to a briefing last week at the Ronald Reagan Building on the 2008 Government Performance Project, a joint venture of the Pew Center on the States and Governing magazine.
For months, teams of journalists and academic researchers dug into the workings of all 50 states and graded them, from A to F, on detailed score sheets. The national average was B-minus, the same as in the previous study in 2005, but as the Pew people told me, "the expectations were higher across the board this year, so it took more to get the same grade."
Combining the grades for managing employees, budgets, information systems and infrastructure planning -- the four areas of focus -- three states were at the top, with A-minus ratings: Utah, Virginia and Washington. At the bottom were Rhode Island and New Hampshire, which scored C-minus and D-plus, respectively.
Read the full article Managing: An Affair Of States on the Washington Post's Web site.
Read the report, Grading the States 2008.