Week of January 14, 2002
Snapshot from the Field
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Illinois, KansasBy JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing
Rank No. 1 in
'Digital State Survey'
WASHINGTON, D.C. and FOLSOM, Calif. -- Digitization is fast becoming ingrained in the fabric of U.S. state government - and perhaps nowhere faster than in Illinois and Kansas.
'Electronic Government a Given'The yearlong survey was based on what PFF and CDG officials described as "a comprehensive poll" of the chief information officers in each of the 50 U.S. states. The study examined the states' use of digital technologies in eight categories: "e-commerce and business regulation;" "taxation and revenue;" "social services;" "law enforcement and the courts;" "digital democracy;" "management and administration;" "education;" and "transportation."
The 2001 survey contained some encouraging news for expanding businesses eager to simplify the project paper chase. For example, all states now have some permits and licenses online; and 14 states have made at least 76 percent of all of their forms available online, the study found.
Such rapid digital uptake reflects state governments' changed view of online services, said Cathilea Robinett, executive director of the Folsom, Calif.-based CDG.
"Initially, the 'Digital State Survey' was designed to support the efforts of governments to create and provide electronic services, particularly in the days when technology wasn't viewed as a necessary tool in government," Robinett explained. "Today, electronic government is a given."
Some States Rising FastThe 2001 survey also underscored the speed with which some states are improving their digital IQs.
"The winning states reached the top by very different paths," said Kent Lassman, a PFF research fellow and the author of the 2001 report. "Illinois has made a dramatic improvement from 1998, when it ranked 49th, while Kansas has consistently ranked near the top."
The top tier of the 2001 survey also included several states that didn't even rank in the 2000 survey's top 25. Among that number were Maine, a No. 5 finisher for 2001, and Ohio, which ranked No. 9 in this year's survey.
"The states are rapidly integrating the powers of information technologies, telecommunications and computing to provide better services more efficiently," said Jeff Eisenach president of the Washington, D.C.-based PFF.
Maryland No. 1 in 'E-commerce
Maryland ranked first in that category, with a perfect score of 100. The rest of the top 10 states in e-commerce and business regulation were Maine at No. 2; Arizona, Florida, Illinois, Pennsylvania and Washington, which tied for No. 3; and Alaska, Indiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Utah and Virginia, which finished in a seven-way tie for No. 8.
Here are a few other highlights from the overall findings of the 2001 "Digital State Survey":
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