The following is excerpted from the report overview:
"In the celebrity, scandal-obsessed atmosphere that saturates modern America, interest in government performance is seen by many as the almost exclusive province of policy wonks.What is essentially the glue of civilized society is too often greeted with disdain. Infrastructure? A jawbreaking, my-eyes-glaze-over topic. Fiscal matters? B-o-r-rr- ing. Politics - once the art of achieving the possible through compromise - has become a soup of spin and photo ops distanced and divorced from our lives. Indeed, Grover Norquist, one of the high priests of anti-tax politics, once boasted his goal was to shrink government to the point where "we can drown it in the bathtub."
Hurricane Katrina provided a horrific reminder that government matters. Suddenly, arcane policy matters such as evacuation procedures and levee maintenance became a matter of life and death. In times of crisis, people inevitably turn to the public sector for help with solving their problems. Most of us are fortunate enough never to face such a nightmare, but our everyday lives are no less dependent on a web of public policies that make society work - or not. The aim of this publication, Stateline.org's sixth annual State of the States report, is to illuminate public policy choices and changes that will touch lives in the 50 states in 2006."