Three unrelated notes about the state of e-government in our states crossed my desk this week. Yesterday you may have seen a story in the San Jose Mercury News about the state controller in California using eBay to auction unclaimed property. While the eBay approach is novel, it is not unconventional. On one hand are the efficiencies of markets and private firms and on the other is the power of information technologies to drive down management and transactions costs. That is the definition of good e-government.
More news from California: Early this week the California Franchise Tax Board voted 2-0 to continue an unnecessary program under the auspices of "e-government." Essentially, the state has duplicated efforts of a thriving private marketplace to provide low- and no-cost tax preparation. The manifold public policy problems that arise were documented last year in this study by my PFF colleagues. The CFTB decision continues a very bad e-government program. There are new consumer risks, no efficiencies and wasteful spending on technology for the sake of technology.
I also just received a copy of the new "Economic Vision 2010: Report Card 2003" published by the Indiana Chamber and the Hudson Institute. If you want to know what is happening in the Hoosier State, this comprehensive report is for you. As in years past, our friends at Hudson utilized some of the metrics and data from PFF's The Digital State to benchmark their home state.