Monday, January 31, 2005

'A lack of capacity to make good decisions'

Alabama is No. 1! Well, at least at government mismanagement.

A survey by the Government Performance Project, a nonpartisan project based at the University of Richmond, placed Alabama in a tie with California for last place on a list of how well all 50 states are managed. The survey will be published in next month's Governing magazine. My home state received a C- overall, with a D for managing infrastructure like bridges and highways, probably because they keep blowing up as quickly as we can repair them.

A "highly placed observer" quoted in the report suggests Alabama's management problems are deep and systemic: "We have a lack of capacity to make good decisions here. The Legislature just brokers between opposing interests. And nobody is paying attention to minding the store, because there isn't any institutional capacity to do that."

Depressing. But hey, the report isn't all doom and gloom. Project editor Richard Greene rightly credits Gov. Bob Riley for making greater efforts than his predecessors to keep a close eye on agency budgets, to force greater transparency in state spending, and to raise the additional revenue necessary for the state to provide services at more than the most minimal level.

As Greene said, "The hidden story is that Alabama in a number of areas has really been improving, focusing on doing the right thing. It's a very difficult job for a state like Alabama to dig itself out of a hole that's been 100 years in the making."

Actually, it's been at least 104 years in the making, but we're working on that.

3 Comments:

Blogger Rurality said...

I thought we could usually count on Mississippi to save us from being last in things like that. Are they falling down on the job?

(the commenter formerly known as KW)

7:26 AM  
Blogger Alabamian said...

Heh, sure looks like it. As Mac Thomason at War Liberal put it, we're "[l]ast among states whose governors aren't former bodybuilders for whom English is a second language." If only I were so eloquent.

Looks like you finally succumbed to that New Year's blogging resolution. I'll add a link later today.

9:35 AM  
Blogger Rurality said...

Yes and it only took three years! Thanks for the link. I think I finally figured out how to add links and put yours up also.

9:05 PM  

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