Will Wilson  |  Former Correspondent

Will Wilson is a former GOVERNING correspondent.

June 30, 2009

Hold That Hire

"It's not an easy job being a jailer," says Captain Hunter Petray, who works in the sheriff's office in Benton County, Arkansas. Few would dispute...
May 4, 2009

Not a Pretty Picture

From Google, state-by-state and county-by-county graphs of unemployment figures for easy comparison. Soon, we'll be able to do this with more data. Hat tip: ...
April 21, 2009

Finally, Data We Can Use: Per Capita Beer Brewing by State

Here's a map, courtesy of SloshSpot, of brewery density per capita in these United States: As a native Montanan, I'm not surprised we'...
March 31, 2009

The Pain of Cutting Payroll

Whacked by budget deficits and with no end to sluggish economies in sight, states, cities and counties have been forced to make the hardest cuts...
March 25, 2009

Florida Workforce and the Budget Crisis of 2009

The Florida Legislature is considering cutting every state worker's salary by 5%. Let's put that in some context. In the 2008 Grading the States, here'...
March 12, 2009

If You're A Happy State And You Know It...

Utah is the happiest state;  West Virginia the least. That's according to a Gallup self-reporting happiness survey. Broadly speaking, there seems to be a &...
February 10, 2009

That Pesky 17th Amendment

Some state budget stabilization funds wound up on the stimulus cutting room floor yesterday. Matthew Yglesias wonders why seemingly strong political constituencies like state-level politicians ...
February 9, 2009

Watch That Stimulus

Stimulus Watch looks like a website that probably should have been around long before the stimulus package: a thumbnail glance at all of the "...
January 26, 2009

Is Government Technology Intentionally Frustrating?

Apropos of the Obama staff's rude tech awakening in the White House, Megan McArdle asks, "Why is government IT so awful?" And ...
January 5, 2009

Start-Up Government

Today's Washington Post has a nice story on DC chief technology officer Vivek Kundra. The opening of the article especially underscores how Kundra not ...
December 31, 2008

Second Spin

When Steve Gendler retired 16 years ago from a career as an Arizona law enforcement officer, he figured he'd spend a lot of his time doing...
December 18, 2008

The Yankees and the Mayor's Office

When the stories began leaking out about New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg's office pressuring the Yankees for a luxury suite in the new ...
December 16, 2008

The Answer is No. What's Your Question?

Washington state is looking at about a $5 billion budget shortfall over the next couple years, given current projections. That doesn't necessarily mean legislators in ...
September 26, 2008

Financial Crisis's Non-Economic Impact on States

States were already facing big revenue hits before Wall Street started to melt down. The fall of AIG might portend regulatory effects on states as ...
September 16, 2008

Probably a Good Idea

I'm usually a fan of hard line approaches and creative incentives. But Edmonds (WA) School District went a little overboard, even for me, and it's ...
September 10, 2008

Architect Bullfighter Designs by Committee

The centerpiece of Seattle's now complete "Libraries for All" initiative is the downtown Central Branch co-designed by Rem Koolhaas, one of the creators ...
July 29, 2008

So Goes Texas So Goes the World?

Maybe I'm not reading these numbers right, but the YTD change in Texas' state revenues by major tax type (second table) shows Franchise Tax down 68.5% ...
June 30, 2008

Venture Governmentalist

Aneesh Chopra has entered the nail-biting phase of the venture capital investing cycle. He has scoured his market carefully for new uses of technology. And...
June 18, 2008

Traffic Congestion Scorecard: A Reason to Hit the Snooze?

Inrix just released a national traffic scorecard, including a list of the 100 most congested metro areas. The great thing about the report is that it ...
May 30, 2008

Tough Crowd

from Governing's Managing Technology Conference in Seattle Bill Gregoricus, a senior consultant in Tennessee's Office of State Planning and Policy, had an interesting--and somewhat disheartening--explanation ...
May 22, 2008


Seattle has just launched a new initiative to get drivers off the roads in the interests of meeting Mayor Greg Nickels pledge of making the ...
May 9, 2008

Bearers of Bad News

It's getting pretty hard to remain an optimist about the mortgage/foreclosure mess. This week, Fed Chairman Ben Bernanke displayed a set of maps (cycle ...
April 22, 2008

Paper vs. Plastic: A Third Way

With Earth Day looming over my quick-trigger guilty conscience again, the Boston Herald raises an old debate that has never been satisfactorily settled in my ...
December 5, 2007

Are You Nuts?

A new Gallup poll reports that Republicans are more likely than Democrats to consider themselves in good mental health. Of course, the study also notes ...
July 24, 2007

What Is a Speed Limit?

I had to find out for myself if Virginia's new speeding fines  were slowing down the traffic and if officers were fleecing speeders. So ...
July 18, 2007

Where Do Old Ballparks Go When They Die?

Detroit can't decide whether to blow up the old Tiger Stadium in order to make room for new development or to renovate the old stadium.
July 12, 2007

Ballpark Gestation

Yesterday, Josh offered an intriguing comparison of pandas and baseball stadiums as economic development strategies. If you're wondering just how that stadium is coming along, ...
July 1, 2007

A Counselor's Calling

If there's a way to tame long-term-care costs, a program that puts patients in control may be it.
July 1, 2007

How Green Is My Blacktop

Illinois is Moving Ahead With a New Formula for Rubber-Tire Roadways.
June 15, 2007

The Good Gets Bad and Ugly: DC Vote

DC Vote, the bill that would give DC and Utah each one new representative, just made it through Senate committee and is headed to the ...
June 12, 2007

Poor Management Compartmentalization

I just received a call from my cell phone service company asking if I wanted to renew my contract. I said, "No. I have ...
May 22, 2007

Water Wars

Things are heating up in Montana v. Wyoming . Earlier this week, the Supreme Court asked the U.S. Solicitor General for his thoughts on the ...
May 16, 2007

Representative Government: A Follow Up

Three weeks ago, Montana House Majority Leader Michael Lange got nasty on the chamber floor, replete with profanity and unpleasant anatomical imagery. As of yesterday, ...
May 9, 2007

Pigskin Politics

The NFL has banned mayors and governors. Team owners have decided that the political pressure applied by elected officials "detracted" from Super Bowl ...
May 3, 2007

Yuppies Want Camden Town

posted by Will Wilson On Tuesday night, I had the pleasure to participate in a focus group conducted by the team that will be designing ...
May 1, 2007

Highway Helper: States Add Leverage To P3 Deals

Chicago and Indiana were the pioneers: They tapped into public-private partnerships--known as P3s--to improve their highways and infuse their coffers with billions of dollars.
April 27, 2007

Representative Government

In one of yesterday's "Heads Up" links, Montana House Republican Majority Leader Michael Lange lashes out at Governor Brian Schweitzer with ugly temper ...
April 27, 2007

Let's Make "Rovers" Official

The Ohio legislature is setting up a committee on how to handle "e-mails about government business sent through private e-mail accounts." "It ...
April 23, 2007

The Tough Fifth-Grade Lobby

Auto emissions regulations are the rage in Vermont. The state recently adopted the "California standards," a policy stance that is now playing out ...
April 18, 2007

Does ANYTHING Sound Tastier than Salmonberry Wine?

Alaskan salmonberry wine might be the tastiest stuff on earth, but the world would never know. Alaska's anti-Alaskan wine laws have kept the sweet sauce ...
April 9, 2007

A New Twist on a Last Period Problem

Kansas legislators wonder if they cut a little too deep. Actually, only the state senators feel that way about the tax cuts the legislature passed ...
March 30, 2007

Aerial Wolf-Killing

Today, Alaska Superior Court Judge Bill Morse will preside over an injunction hearing that should be an unintentional comedy goldmine -- if rather darkly-humored gold. ...
March 21, 2007

Super Drunk and Drive

Michigan could soon become the 36th state to enact "super drunk and drive" legislation.  Gov. Jennifer Granholm is working with the legislature ...
March 16, 2007

Constitutional Stability on the Rockies

In the legislative Man Bites Dog story of the day, Colorado state legislators are examining bills that would make it harder for voters to change ...
March 13, 2007

Hometown INS

The ACLU won't often get caught up defending the Bush administration's right to regulate, but that is the situation developing in the federal case regarding ...