IRG Releases Report on Modernizing and Decentralizing State Government

Feb 21, 2023 | Press Release, Wisconsin Voices Blog

Delafield, WI – Today the Institute for Reforming Government released a brand new report – Reimagining Wisconsin Government for the 21st Century – that presents a clear roadmap for modernizing and strengthening state government, removing its inefficiencies, and shrinking its size and footprint in Madison. Click here for the full report.

The IRG policy team has spent the last year and half researching and mapping out a plan – detailed in the report – on how to decentralize bureaucratic power in Madison by sending state agencies to other parts of the state where they can be more responsive to the people they serve. This same idea is now being echoed nationally by Florida Governor Ron Desantis who is advocating for moving some federal agencies outside of Washington, DC.

Other key highlights of the report include plans for:

  • Reducing the full time employee count through contracting out for professional services, and using digital technology and automation to reduce staffing.
  • Reducing the physical footprint in Madison by moving agencies out of Madison and into the communities that they serve.
  • Making government more responsive to peoples’ needs by using technology and regional offices to make it easier for the average Wisconsinite to access what they need from government, when they need it.

“Plagued with backlogs, worsening relationships with the business community, and underutilization of modern technology, Wisconsin state government still operates under a bloated, inefficient and outdated 19th century model of governance. Meanwhile, states across the nation – including our Midwest neighbor in Iowa – are modernizing the structure and function of their state governments. It’s time to move Wisconsin into the 21st century with bold, bipartisan solutions that actually meet the needs of citizens.” – Alex Ignatowski, Director of State Budget and Government Reform

This year marks the 175th anniversary of Wisconsin statehood in 1848, when the basic template for state government was laid out. Although there have been multiple reorganizations over the last 175 years, they have all been constrained by a 19th century mindset and framework.

IRG’s report – designed to address Wisconsin’s 21st century needs – stands in direct contrast to Governor Evers’ recently proposed budget that dramatically expands the size and scope of government. IRG’s analysis on Governor Evers’ budget is here.

The full Reimagining Wisconsin Government for the 21st Century report is available to read on the IRG website.