Freshman Arkansas Governor Asa Hutchinson proposed a state government reorganization plan that would reduce the number of state agencies from 42 to 15. The proposal emerged from an Efficiency Project led by the Arkansas Policy Foundation (2015–16) and a citizen-led Transformation Advisory Board (2017–18) that included an APF representative. Governor Hutchinson directed agency heads reporting to him to cooperate with the Efficiency Project, which made 60 recommendations, including more than 20 that have been enacted since late 2016.
Governor Hutchinson’s proposal would be the biggest reorganization of Arkansas state government since 1971, a period that coincided with Bill Clinton’s 12 years as governor. During Governor Hutchinson’s tenure, the number of Arkansas state employees has declined by nearly 1,500 due to reorganization and efficiency measures including privatization. The Efficiency Project recommended a privatization inventory, noting, “Interviews revealed privatization is being used by some agencies to drive efficiencies, though this action is not always recognized. An inventory should be created for purposes of reducing external silos.” Governor Hutchinson said his proposal “improves the delivery of services to Arkansas taxpayers by breaking silos within state government and by combining agencies in a way that will allow for increased coordination within similar programs of the agencies.”