Monday, March 3, 2008

State Government B+ overall, improves in 3 out of 4 areas

State's services score high in report

National review shows government has improved despite budget troubles.

Detroit News staff and wire reports

LANSING -- Despite an economic downturn and last year's budget crisis, Michigan has scored a higher ranking among Midwestern states, according to a national assessment of state government performance.

In a "Grading the States 2008" report card, expected to be released today in partnership with the Pew Center on the States' Government Performance Project and Governing magazine, Michigan received a B-plus overall. The state improved in three of four categories in the past three years.

"Year in, year out, we want to ensure that we are spending tax dollars efficiently and in a way that provides services citizens need and depend upon," Gov. Jennifer Granholm said in a statement to be released today. "We appreciate the recognition that even in tight budget times, we have made improvements in the way we operate state government."

"The surprise in Michigan is the strength and suppleness of much of its management, in both good times and bad," the report said. It called the state's Web site a national model. It also said the state has done a good job of monitoring state roads. "Michigan is one of the best examples that ... it's possible to manage well even in the most difficult of times," said Neal Johnson, the report's director.

The grades came after the report's authors interviewed dozens of state workers in each state and looked at more than 12,000 pieces of data.

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