In the good old days, economic slumps were followed by recoveries. To survive lean times, governments tightened their belts, maybe raised some taxes, and life got back to normal once the economy bounced back.

Not this time. Crisis is the new normal.

Tax hikes simply won't get governments through this one. Neither the economy nor the electorate will allow for much in the way of tax increases, not after states collectively enacted $23 billion in tax hikes in 2009. (A slew of recent stories document the gory details here and here and here.)

So what's the answer? Transformation. A deep and abiding commitment to government that is better, faster, and cheaper. This means rethinking mission, focusing on core functions, and embracing a set of tools, technologies, and organizational approaches dedicated to delivering true public value efficiently.

Throughout the coming year, we'll be sharing ideas and stories that illustrate what the future of government holds. We invite you to join in the conversation, to share your ideas with us, and to join us in the hard work facing government in 2010.

If you have an idea you'd like to share, please email us at