Arkansas governor unveils plan to reduce cabinet-level agencies without cutting jobs

Gov. Asa Hutchinson shows a flowchart of current cabinet-level agencies and compares it with a flowchart of proposed restructuring. (KATV Photo)

The Arkansas governor has announced a new plan that will cut the number of cabinet-level agencies by more than half, though the governor says it would not eliminate jobs.

Gov. Asa Hutchinson unveiled his restructuring proposal Wednesday, which includes reducing the number of agencies from 42 to 15. The governor says no jobs will be cut, but changes will be made through attrition.

This reduction is one of the governor's six key objectives to reform state government over the next four years.

"This long-overdue and comprehensive reorganization effort will realign agencies to reflect a more modern and efficient way to operate state government without cutting any services," said Gov. Hutchinson. "This will result in improved delivery of services and will ultimately save the state money and the taxpayer time."

If the plan is accepted by the legislature, it would go into effect in 2020 and the governor says financial savings could be seen as soon as fiscal year 2021.

Leading up to the November elections, some of the governor's opponents aren't impressed with the proposal.

"I'm disappointed that this shuffling of the deck was the best he could come up with," says Libertarian candidate Mark West.

Democratic candidate Jared Henderson reacted with the following, "Arkansans deserve bold leadership that solves our problems, not rearranges them. It’s clear Gov. Hutchinson is still stuck in the 40-year-old political debate of bigger government versus smaller government rather than tackling our state’s most critical problems. We need to leaders to devote this much effort into truly transforming our education system to serve every teacher and child, transforming our healthcare system to allow patients to receive affordable services and prescriptions no matter their pre-existing condition, or transforming our economy to focus on building small businesses in every community rather than bringing in overseas corporations to a handful of towns."

KATV's Matt Mershon (@MattMershonKATV) is following this story and will have more Wednesday night at 5 and 6 p.m.

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