Unfortunately 20 states is a hard limit. You are on the right path in looking at custom components, however without understanding the full nature of the project it will be hard to advise as to the best solution to resolve this. You might need to look at the grouping in an unorthodox fashion or it might simply be the case where this will have to be completed in Flash Builder and the elements done in a more programatic fashion.
I know this does not solve your issue, but maybe it can give you a pointer.
These forum FAQ's may help you:
ok search the posts - there should really be a sticky on this one:
Sorry, the deeper I get into this catalyst thing the more I realize here is more to this than what is on the surface - even if it is a bit buggy!