When state government operates efficiently and effectively, the result is better service to its people and better stewardship of taxpayer dollars.  

It’s been nearly 40 years since Iowa last conducted a comprehensive, enterprise-wide assessment of government operations and structure. Today, Iowa has 37 executive branch cabinet members, significantly more than our neighboring states and best practice. Arkansas, Mississippi, and Oklahoma all have populations and budgets similar to Iowa but just 15 cabinet members. Likewise, Iowa’s per capita expenditures exceed those of similar-size states and larger bordering states. 

The needs and expectations of Iowans have changed over the last four decades. Now is the time to be forward looking so Iowa is in a strong position to attract citizens, expand business, and grow the economy. 

Since taking office, Governor Reynolds has leveraged opportunities to streamline government and improve efficiency. Building upon successes during her first term and recommendations from the Governor’s Economic Recovery Advisory Board, she has directed a thorough assessment of all executive branch agencies to improve organizational and operational alignment, elevate service to Iowans, and sharpen the state’s competitive edge. 


Governor Reynolds proposes: 

  • Strategically aligning executive branch structure, operations, and personnel to elevate service, improve efficiency, and reduce the total number of cabinet-level departments from 37 to 16.  

  • Reducing state government’s office space footprint to align with industry standards and generate cost savings. 

  • Consolidating common technology systems and services. 

  • Recovering additional Medicaid drug rebates and capturing Department of Corrections medical, pharmaceutical, and behavioral health costs for inmates from the federal government. 

  • Aligning regionally operated Community Based Corrections programs within the Department of Corrections to strengthen the corrections system statewide, drive evidence-based outcomes, and improve recidivism and public safety. 

  • Selling state-owned farmland to generate revenue for state operations.  


Key Alignment Proposals 

  • Reduce the number of cabinet-level departments by aligning agencies with similar business operations to leverage shared services, improve efficiency, and decrease cost. 

  • Centralize similar programs that currently exist across several agencies into a single department with the resources, experience, and subject matter expertise to achieve the best outcomes for Iowans. 

  • The Department of Inspections and Appeals will expand its Administrative Hearings Division and create a new Professional Licensing Division to include health and occupational licenses. 

  • Community Based Corrections is proposed to merge with the Department of Corrections, creating operational consistency statewide that improves public safety and equal justice. 

  • The Board of Educational Examiners, College Student Aid Commission, STEM Advisory Council, and other education-related services are proposed to align with the Department of Education to better support students across Iowa’s education continuum. 

  • The Department on Aging, Department of Human Rights, Early Childhood Iowa, and other human services-focused organizations are proposed to align with the Department of Health and Human Services, strengthening program coordination and improving quality of life for all Iowans. 

  • A proposal to align Iowa Lottery and the Alcoholic Beverages Division with Iowa Department of Revenue, will bring Iowa’s primary revenue generating enterprises together to create a more convenient, full-service customer experience. 

  • A proposal to create a new Iowa Department of Insurance and Financial Services, comprised of the Iowa Insurance Division, Iowa Division of Banking, and Iowa Division of Credit Unions, will elevate Iowa’s profile as a national insurance industry leader and promote financial services in the state. 

How Iowans Benefit 

  • Alignment will reduce the size of government and create significant savings for taxpayers and the state.  

  • Alignment will elevate the state’s services and programs to improve experience and outcomes for Iowans. 

  • Aligning departments with related services will create a more convenient, full-service experience for citizens and businesses. 

  • Aligning specific programs within a single department will ensure Iowans get the right support at the right time, avoiding unintentional gaps in service. 

  • Alignment will break down silos and improve coordination among state agencies, improving operations, performance, and outcomes.