WASHINGTON, D.C.—Based on a study by The Pew Center on the States and Governing Magazine, all 50 states received report cards evaluating each state government’s performance in a range of areas, from budget and finance to roads and bridges. According to its authors, the report demonstrates the importance of state governments that work better and cost less, particularly in the wake of widespread budget deficits and a weakening national economy.
Grading the States 2008 is the fourth in a series, the most recent issued in 2005. States were evaluated on how well they were advancing—or backsliding—in key areas such as recruiting and retaining highly qualified, productive public employees; using information and technology to measure performance and communicate more effectively with the public; managing fiscal resources from budgeting to procurement; and planning for, maintaining, and improving roads, bridges, and buildings.

"Fostering meaningful change through fact-based research provides all states with useful knowledge to pursue innovative solutions that will strengthen performance and service to the public," said Susan Urahn, managing director of The Pew Center on the States. "State leaders and managers should look beyond the grade and pursue the opportunity that the report provides: to operate more efficiently and effectively, improve transparency, and be more accountable for results."

Overall state performance in 2008 ranged from A- (Utah, Virginia, and Washington) to D+ (New Hampshire). The national average among the 50 states was B-, which 18 states received. Thirteen states earned grades above the national average and 19 states’ grades were below the national average. States were ranked or graded based on a set of criteria, not against each other.

The report and 50 state summaries are available online at www.pewcenteronthestates.org/gpp.