Week of January 14, 2002
  Snapshot from the Field
Top 25 States:
2001 "Digital State Survey"
1. Illinois
2. Kansas
3. Washington
4. Maryland
5. Arizona
5. Maine
7. New Jersey
7. Utah
9. Ohio
9. Michigan
11. Pennsylvania
12. South Dakota
13. Florida
14. Wisconsin
15. Texas
16. New York
17. Nebraska
18. Alaska
19. Georgia
19. Minnesota
21. North Carolina
22. Indiana
23. California
24. Connecticut
25. Nevada
Source: "Digital State Survey," conducted by the Progress and Freedom Foundation and the Center for Digital Government.
Illinois, Kansas
Rank No. 1 in
'Digital State Survey'
By JACK LYNE, Site Selection Executive Editor of Interactive Publishing

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.
        Those two Midwest states finished in a tie for No. 1 in the fourth annual "Digital State Survey," a recently released study conducted by the Progress and Freedom Foundation (PFF at www.pff.org) and the Center for Digital Government (CDG at www.centerdigitalgov.com). Sponsored by Compaq Computer, the survey "documents progress made by states in adopting digital technologies to improve delivery of services to citizens," according to CDG and PFF officials.
        Illinois and Kansas finished in a dead heat for No. 1 in the 2001 survey, which has been published as a report, The Digital State 2001. Each state earned a score of 91.8 (out of a possible 100) in the 2001 survey.
        Ranked No. 3 was Washington, which finished in the No. 1 spot in the three previous annual studies.
        Rounding out the top 10 in the 2001 "Digital State Survey" were Maryland at No. 4; Arizona and Maine, which tied for No. 5; New Jersey and Utah, which tied for No. 7; and Ohio and Michigan, which tied for No. 10.

'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.
CDG Executive Director Cathilea Robinett
The rapid digital uptake among U.S. states reflects the fact that "electronic government today is a given," said CDG Executive Director Cathilea Robinett.

        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 Fast

The 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."
PFF President Jeff Eisenach
"The states are rapidly integrating the powers of information technologies, telecommunications and computing," said PFF President Jeff Eisenach.

        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
and Business Regulation'

The overall "Digital State Survey" rankings are a compilation of scores for individual study aspects that were released last year. Of particular interest to many in the real estate industry is the report on "e-commerce and business regulation," which was released in August.
        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":
  • Thirty-nine states, 17 more than in 2000, now recognize digital signatures, and all 50 states have online access to court decisions and opinions.
  • Forty-seven states now allow citizens to file tax returns online, and 32 states accept electronic payment for taxes or other business.
  • Seventeen states, seven more than in 2000, now have electronic procurement systems.
  • The largest overall increase in the states' use of digital technologies was in the "digital democracy" category. The study identified many states that had adopted new ways for citizens to participate online. Arizona, for example, has conducted a legally binding primary election on the Internet.
Editor's note: Watch for the "top wired cities for business" in Site Selection's September 2002 issue.


sf0114bsf0114b ©2002 Conway Data, Inc. All rights reserved. Data is from many sources and is not warranted to be accurate or current.