At the report's launch, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm discussed how a strategic, statewide perspective drives the state's executive branch even under tough economic circumstances. Georgia Gov. Sonny Perdue shared his experiences pressing more than 300 private-sector representatives into volunteer service to benchmark state operations against best business practices. The changes have achieved stronger customer service results.

“Grading the States 2008” is the fourth in a series, the most recent issued in 2005. Launched nearly a decade ago, the Government Performance Project provides comprehensive research, knowledge, and support to establish a culture of effective management and meaningful policy action that better serves citizens.

For the first time, Johnson is receiving calls asking about best practices, prompting a search for the best way to work with state leaders on an exchange of ideas and to pass along suggestions based on project research.

“Fostering meaningful change through fact-based research provides all states with useful knowledge to pursue innovative solutions that willstrengthen performance and service to the public,” says 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.”

The report is available at www.pewcenteronthestates.org.

Web extra: It's tough to manage assets proactively when operating on a shoestring budget. To find out how much federal highway funding your state is receiving, visit the “article links” page under “resources” at www.pwmag.com.