in electronic filing enabled a smaller number of people to get paper returns processed in an average of three weeks, which beat the previous year's average.

Richard A. Gettemy, administrator of the state Department of Revenue's Finance and Management Services, said the department has been automating processes for some time, beginning with electronic funds transfer, electronic filing and telefile. "We require anyone with a liability of over $100,000 to pay electronically," he said.

New Jersey

The New Jersey Division of Taxation has accepted credit card payments over the Internet for approximately three years and e-check payments for two years. Together, credit card and e-check payments represent millions of dollars in state tax payments annually;they were also very popular during New Jersey's recent tax amnesty program. And have facilitated the electronic filing of tax returns by both individuals and businesses.

The taxation division has used imaging technology for processing and storing tax returns for more than 10 years, and it now has more than 1 billion images available electronically.

Ohio

In the Ohio Business Gateway, small businesses can remit taxes and perform other government transactions in a single location. Government agencies get the data in electronic format, which makes things easier for them. More features have been added, and in January 2003 licensing will be rolled out as well.

Ohio's Tax Commissioner Thomas M. Zaino said the benefits of electronic tax filing are so great, he wants to give taxpayers 10 extra days if they file electronically. "We really don't lose any revenue," he said. "We get 3.5 million checks dumped on us April 15 through 17. We don't get them all open within the first two weeks, and it takes us six weeks to get them all processed. So we don't lose any float."

"County Connect," a proposed single point of access for state and county taxpayers, would reduce state and county costs with electronic information sharing. The key to building systems under the current financial situation, Zaino said, is to look first at fast return on investment (ROI). "We'd like to integrate our customer touchpoints, like with CRM [customer relationship management], but the ROI on that is a much longer return, so it might be delayed. But it's something that I'm certain will happen."

While some state agency budgets have been cut as much as 15 percent, Zaino said Web filing and expansion of a sales tax telefile system allowed the state to delay the arrival of seasonal employees by two weeks this year, at a considerable savings.

Next year, a pilot will run in Franklin County to get 100 percent of sales taxes filed electronically, Zaino said, adding that the federal government also has looked at the idea; he thinks it could work very well for other types of taxes as well.

South Dakota

South Dakota has no personal income tax, said state CIO Otto Doll, but it handles sales taxes electronically through an arrangement with GovConnect. In addition, the state deals with many small businesses. "We automatically sweep people's bank accounts to create a debit relative to their tax payment requirement," he said. To do that requires automated systems and good coordination. "So the [business] process here in South Dakota drives an automated process."

GIS and Transportation Category

Arizona

Gene Trobia, Arizona state cartographer, worked for Pima County before coming to the state, and he is now president-elect of the National States Geographic Information Council. "The county experience is probably a big reason the state hired me," said Trobia. "We're really moving toward e-government, spatially enabling our portal technology. We're improving the Arizona state Web site to provide spatial services to the public, to personalize the service to the citizens. We're going to integrate a lot of agency databases and

Wayne Hanson  |  Senior Executive Editor, Center For Digital Government