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Necessary State Expenditure


1. The line between national and state expenditure.

2. In administering health laws.

3. In inspecting food products.

4. Unwillingness or incompetency of the states does not justify national action.

5. National and state defense.

6. National and state support of state troops.

7. Maintenance of justice.

8. How the expenditure should be borne.

9. the anomaly of two appellate courts.

10. A better mode of determining the increasing number of appeals.

I 1. Expense of legislation.

12. Contingent legislative expenses.

13. Expense of administering health and inspection laws.

14. Expense of education.

15. Expense per child in different states.

16. Limits of public aid for education.

17. How shall the line be defined between state and local ex penditure? 18. The greater ability of the state to pay is not a proper reason for state action.

19. The existing zigzag line is based chiefly on political grounds.

1. The first question relates to the boundary of ex penditure between the State and the national govern ment. In two directions—providing for the common defense and administering justice—the national govern ment has not passed its original boundaries. There has been some conflict of jurisdiction between the State and national courts, but none giving rise to extended contro versy or involving the expenditure of much money.

2. In enacting and administering health laws, inspect ing cattle, food, etc., which involve considerable expendi ture, no clearly defined lines have been drawn between the State and national governments. As we have seen, the national government is justified in doing those things which, by reason of its greater authority, it can do more effectively than any State, especially in enforcing quaran tine regulations and in preventing the spread of diseases to persons and cattle, the importation of foreign adulter ated or impure articles and the pollution of rivers.

3. On the other hand, why should it attempt to in spect foods, such as oleomargarine, produced and sold in the States? Ought not the national government to con fine its work of regulation to foreign products with which it can deal more effectively than the States, because it has possession of them on their arrival and can prevent the landing of them whenever they are unfit for use? • 4. Some of the directions in which the national gov ernment had invaded the sphere of the States were shown in a preceding chapter. We do not think that the un willingness or incompetency of the States to act in col lecting statistics, inspecting ordinary food products, mak ing topographical or geological surveys, is an excuse for national action. For as soon as it transgresses its sphere and attempts to perform the part of assistant to State governments, then it will inevitably get into difficulty in consequence of its inability or refusal to serve all with equal efficiency.

5. The States supplement the work of the govern ment in providing for defense by maintaining military organizations. These have much improved in recent years. How far the States ought to go depends partly on their ability to avail themselves of the national means of defense and partly on their own condition. Doubtless in the near future more national troops will be kept in or near the 1..tger centres of population ; though there may be greater danger of rioting in some of the smaller places.

6. For many years the government made an annual appropriation of $400,000 to aid the national guard. Elsewhere is shown the number of soldiers enrolled in each State in 1896 and the allotment of this fund for that year. The regularity of this appropriation was broken by the Spanish war, but it will doubtless soon be re newed, and more effective regulations be established for the use of State troops by the national government.

7. Another necessary expenditure is to maintain jus tice. Though of supreme importance, it is more neglect ed than any other duty of State government. Many reasons contribute to the decline in the tone of modern justice. One of these is the election of judges by the people. After the experience gained since establishing an elective judiciary, the former plan of appointing judges by the chief executive power should be restored, with confirmation by either one or both houses of the legis lature.

8. The expenses of maintaining justice may be di vided into two items, for administering the criminal and the civil laws. The expense of criminal jurisprudence ought to be borne by all the people, as all are equally benefited in the protection thus afforded them. But the administration of civil jurisprudence rests on a different foundation. This relates to the recovery of property, which belongs not to the public, but to individuals, and therefore the expense of litigation as far as possible ought to fall on them. The wrongdoer ought to bear the en tire expense, partly because he has broken the law, partly as a punishment for so doing. If this were done, a large portion of the expense for administering justice, which is one of the heaviest bills paid by the States, would be greatly lessened.

9. In two States only, New York and New Jersey, is a second appeal allowed for the correction of errors.' A second appellate tribunal is an anomaly in Amer ican jurisprudence, and doubtless will be abolished. The expense of maintaining it, especially in New York, is considerable.

to. The expense of administering justice has been swelling in most of the States in consequence of increas ing litigation. In the determination of appeals from the lower tribunals several plans have been tried. The plan most generally adopted has been the creation of a second temporary tribunal, maintained at very considerable ex pense. The State of California has adopted a less ex pensive and more satisfactory plan. It has increased somewhat the number of Supreme Court Judges, who form two separate tribunals for the trial of ordinary cases and unite in the trial of the most important ones.

Another necessary expenditure is for legislation. Some States have economized by holding biennial ses sions, which have proved to be quite frequent enough for the general good. One of the growing expenditures of both State and national governments is for conducting special investigations. Some of these have yielded good results ; most of them have proved disappointing. The New York Legislature of late years has led off in creating such commissions, spending since 1879 $823,534 on legislative commissions, excluding contested election cases. In 1894 the bills amounted to $112,929, and $82, 196 the following year.' 12. Some expenditures for legislation are regulated by law ; others are contingent. In some States members are paid by the day ; in others a fixed compensation is paid to them for the work of a session. Besides the fixed charges for legislation, are many contingent ex penses for stationery, postage, etc., which good govern ing requires should be reduced as far as possible to a specified sum. In some States this is done, or the ex penditures are covered by the fixed compensation given to members.

13. Another necessary expenditure is for administer ing health laws and kindred measures. In the report

of the State Treasurer of Massachusetts for 1895 the following expenditures appear : Assayer and inspector of liquors, $1,200; inspector of gas meters, $3,945 ; cat tle commissioners, $152,903 ; board of registration in pharmacy, $6,899; State board of health, $56,876, includ ing $11,517 for the inspection of milk, food and drugs. Another item is for an investigation relating to the purity of waters, $29,301 ; for exterminating caterpillars, $127, 3oo ; for disposing of sewage in different places, $68,050 ; for investigating the liquor traffic, $2,853; and for drain ing marshes in order to improve the health of the sur rounding inhabitants, $2,865.

14. Another item, and one of the largest expendi tures by many States, is for general education. Several years ago, when it was first proposed to tax property for the support of common schools, many were opposed to the measure, but nearly all opposition has long since ceased. It is readily seen that if the government is to endure, the people, especially those who vote, must be educated, to be qualified for their duties. Those who cannot vote must be educated to qualify themselves for earning their living and thus save others from the ex pense of maintaining them. Both reasons, besides many others, furnish abundant justification for the State to put forth its best efforts to educate the people.

15. The expense of education is a heavy one; a few figures may be given showing the annual expense of edu cating children in the schools of different States.

16. The question most widely open for discussion is the limits of public education. Some maintain that general expenditure should be limited to education in the common schools ; others that the higher education should be included, as well as commercial and industrial educa tion.' 17. There is another question, Where shall the line be drawn between State and local aid to education ? The answer is simply another application of the princi ple defining the functions of State and local government. In doing this we have no constitutional rule which so largely defines the boundaries between State and national expenditure. The counties, towns, boroughs, cities and other municipalities are of State creation, and are en dowed with such powers as are deemed most expedient by the central authority. As the State has created them, so can the State destroy or modify them in the ways pre scribed by the fundamental law. How far ought the governing of the people to be direct, by its own officers, and how far ought this to be indirect, by the officers elected by municipalities, is a question not admitting of a definite answer. Shall the State reverse its policy in road building, which until very recently has been done by municipalities, and build them, or assist in building them ? Massachusetts and New Jersey have departed from the ancient course, and New York will probably soon follow. Can any principle be found for defining the line between. State and local action? Those of efficiency and economy can be applied. If the State can act more efficiently and economically in building and maintaining roads than towns and other municipalities, it is clearly justified in thus acting. And this is the chief reason given for undertaking the building of roads by the State. In some of the townships near Philadelphia excellent roads have been economically made because the township su pervisors were especially interested and knew how they ought to be made.' In many townships the roads are exceedingly poor and repairs are made in an ignorant and wasteful manner. Shall the duty of road making and repair in Pennsylvania be undertaken by the State, or rather, shall the townships be awakened to the need of good roads and instructed in the correct methods of making them ? Opinions differ, nor do we think that a definite answer, prescribing a rigid line of duty for the State and townships is the correct one. What would be the outcome of a State system? Some townships would be far more intelligently and economically served than they are to-day; others just as surely would not be. Is not the State, like New Jersey and Massachusetts, jus tified in trying an experiment, offering some assistance to those townships that are willing to avail themselves of it, perhaps appointing some officials to instruct local officers in building and repairing highways and bridges, requiring people to pay their road taxes in money, in stead of permitting them "to work them out" on the roads?' The same answer must be given to the question concerning the part the State ought to take in educational matters. As it can act, on the whole, more wisely than localities, it is justified in taking some part in the man agement of the public schools. Generally, it is believed that local government is more economical than that of the State, and yet this belief is daily contradicted by the expenditures of many cities. Probably the belief does accord with the expenditures of municipalities that have only small revenues. In these the temptation to make a living from the public does not exist because the funds are insufficient.

18. The saving of expenditure as a reason for trans ferring work to the State will not stand criticism. This probably is the reason with some persons for transferring road building, the support of the poor (as in California), of the schools, and of local justice from the town to the State. This economy is no reason at all, for if the State is better able to pay for these expenditures by reason of its larger revenues, an adjustment of them is the proper remedy.

19. In the past there has been much zigzagging be tween the State and municipalities in governing, but the chahges have generally been based on political, and not on financial or economic reasons, and have been most frequent in the governing of cities.

'In Illinois and Missouri a second appeal may be taken from the local appellate tribunal of Chicago and St. Louis.

'See Comptroller Roberts' report for 1897, p. xxx1.

'In this connection those who believe in the extension of the State service will be instructed by reading Prof. J. W. Jenks' article in 6 Polit. Science Q, 90, on the School Book Legislation of California.

'It so happens that about twenty years ago Mr. A. J. Cas sett, the president of the Pennsylvania Railroad Company, be came interested in improving the roads in his township, and was chosen supervisor. Theirexcellent condition is chiefly due to his intelligent and zealous supervision. It is a good illustration of what an able, influential member of a community may accomplish when he is willing to devote some of his energy to the public service.

'See Prof. N. S. Shaler's American Highways.

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