Feds lag behind states in e-gov efforts
- By William Matthews
- Aug 14, 2000
Even though it's better financed, the federal government is jumping into
e-government at a slower pace than its brethren at the state and municipal
levels, which are under intense pressure to provide online services,
That's the conclusion of a recent survey of 37 states and 60 federal
"States tend to be more freewheeling and willing to take on initiatives.
We often say the states are the laboratories" for experiments in e-government,
said Ray Bjorklund, vice president of consulting services for Federal Sources
Inc., a market research firm.
FSI teamed with another consulting company, Meta Group Inc., to survey
110 government information technology officials for a report, "E-Government:
Creating Digital Democracy," that was released Aug. 8.
"We define e-government as the ability to obtain government services
through nontraditional electronic means" and to complete government transactions
"on an "anywhere, any time' basis," the survey said. Providing better service
is "the primary driving force behind e-government," the survey said.
Sixty-two percent of the state officials surveyed agreed that better service
is the main motivating factor behind e-government. But only 20 percent
of federal officials agreed. "Federal study participants were twice as likely
to name "legislative requirements' as the primary driving force," the firms
As a result, states and municipalities are moving faster to satisfy
public demand for online services.
In Montana, for example, the success of an online service for issuing hunting
and fishing licenses persuaded the state legislature to appropriate money
for other e-government initiatives. And a widely praised online vehicle
registration system in Arizona prompted California's governor to order his
state's motor vehicle department to establish one.
However, states lag behind the federal government in developing in-depth
plans for e-government, the survey discovered. "Ninety percent of federal
agencies have an e-government strategy; only 78 percent of states do," the