After years of budget cuts, layoffs, furloughs and hiring freezes, the everyday work of state government is piling up. This Stateline series examines what causes backlogs, who is hurt by them and how states can dig themselves out.
Backlogged: the growing wait for state services
PART ONE OF THREE: States across the country are seeing growing backlogs of work, as shrinking staffs struggle to meet rising demand for some services. From public housing to crime labs, restaurant inspections to court systems, four years of layoffs, furloughs and hiring freezes are beginning to take a toll. More
PART TWO OF THREE: State systems to protect vulnerable adults from abuse and neglect are straining under growing caseloads and budgets that don't keep pace with the amount of work. Vermont's backlog of 733 open or unassigned cases highlights the depth of the challenges. More
PART THREE OF THREE: Not long ago, Texas was slower than any other state at telling people whether they could receive food stamps. Today, the state ranks near the top. Here's how Texas did it. More
Last week, Stateline took an in-depth look at what's causing growing backlogs of work at state agencies across the country. Here are five lessons gleaned from dozens of interviews with state officials, including those who are currently struggling with a backlog and some who have successfully cleared one up. More
State laboratories are being asked to handle more DNA samples every year. They use federal funding to meet part of the expense, but backlogs persist nevertheless. More