Reduce the Number of State Agencies by 10%
There are good reasons to reform the structure of the state agencies focused on preserving and promoting our heritage and culture, but let’s not stop there. Structural reform across all levels of government will lead to better use of tax dollars.
Many bemoan the bloated federal government, but that is outside of our direct control. Many want to reform Indiana’s local government, but few have demonstrated the courage and persistence necessary to press for change.
State government is, by contrast, in great shape and only getting better. Due to prudent leadership, state employee numbers are at their lowest levels in decades, state debt continues to be reduced, state surpluses are bulging, and taxes are being reduced.
Do we stop there? No! We take the next bold step in proving that the Hoosier way of governing means we constantly strive for better outcomes while living within our means.
Consolidation of government’s executive functions often makes sense for any number of reasons, including:
- Taxpayers can more easily understand and navigate a simplified government structure;
- Middle management ranks can be reduced, with savings returned to taxpayers or reinvested in ways more directly beneficial to taxpayers; and,
- Resources can be more easily dedicated where they are needed with funding combined and approval processes streamlined.
So, here are more reforms to consider:
- Consolidate the Department of Labor and Worker’s Compensation Board into Department of Workforce Development.
- Consolidate the Board of Animal Health and the Coroner’s Training Board into the State Department of Health.
- Consolidate administration of the retirement medical benefits in the Budget Agency and the Hoosier Start retirement benefits in the Auditor’s Office into Indiana Public Retirement System.
- Consolidate the Governor’s Council for People with Disabilities and Indiana Protection & Advocacy Services into the Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA).
- Consolidate the minority, women, and veteran and executive branch lobbying registration functions in the Department of Administration and the Department of Transportation’s disadvantaged business certification to the Professional Licensing Agency.
- Consolidate the Hoosier Lottery and Horse Racing Commission into the Gaming Commission.
- Consolidate 911 from the Treasurer, the Integrated Public Safety Commission, and Indiana Data & Communication System into the Indiana State Police.
- Combine the Indiana Education Employment Relations Board, Center for Education & Career Innovation, and Indiana Charter School Board into the Department of Education with its leader appointed by the Governor.
Consolidation doesn’t always make sense, of course. The separation of the Department of Child Services from FSSA is probably one of the best examples where services improved when related functions were separated. So, any consolidation idea deserves careful consideration.
Still, when we have consolidated, outcomes have improved. Over the past decade, we’ve merged four different “centralized” IT agencies into one; two retirement-related agencies into one; three higher ed-related agencies into one; and six debt issuing agencies into one. The results have been extremely positive, and we need to do more.
Let’s show Washington that Hoosiers know how to make government work even better. With bold leadership and smart planning, I think we could reduce the number of state agencies by about 10%. And, I am sure there will be millions that can then be put to better use.