Elimination & Consolidation of State Entities

Source: Mark Murphy, National Conference of State Legislatures, August 1, 2011

To address budget gaps in recent years, policymakers have cut spending, used federal funds, enacted revenue increases, used rainy day funds, and employed various other measures to satisfy statutory and constitutional balanced budget requirements.

Among the spending cuts, some states have sought to eliminate or consolidate various state entities, including departments, agencies, offices, divisions, boards, commissions and councils. These actions have often been characterized as streamlining, reorganizing, modernizing, redesigning or increasing the efficiency of government.

In general, these actions have not represented substantial savings for state budgets. Instead, policymakers have primarily opted to cut appropriations for existing state entities and programs while keeping them largely intact.

Since 2009, at least 19 states have eliminated or consolidated state entities. Of these states, at least 11 have instituted eliminations and 13 have implemented consolidations. Several states – California, Connecticut, Missouri, Nevada and Washington – have done both. State functions that have been impacted include personnel management, criminal justice, information technology, central services, and tourism.

California, New Jersey and Washington have been relatively active in eliminating or consolidating state entities. This report highlights examples from these states first, followed by other selected state examples. Savings estimates are included where available.

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