This section is from the "The Subvention In The State Finances Of Pennsylvania" book, by Frederic B. Garver.
In addition to reformatories, asylums for the insane and feebleminded, and the hospitals for injured miners, the state also supports sanitoria for tubercular patients. In 1916 over $1,300,000 was expended for this service alone. *66
A third class of charitable institutions is made up of schools for the blind, the deaf and dumb, and for soldiers' orphans. The schools for defectives, of which there are now six, are privately owned and managed, but all receive the larger part of their revenue from the state. Thus, in 1914, the four schools for the deaf and the deaf and dumb reported total receipts of $348,723 exclusive of loans. Of this amount $303,621, or 87.1 per cent, was derived from the state. *67 In the same year, the two schools for the blind reported receipts amounting to $143,205 of which $97,863, or 68.4 per cent, was paid by the state. *68
The state contributes to the support of these schools in two ways. It pays a fixed amount annually for each child who is a resident of Pennsylvania and whose relatives are not charged with the cost. *69 It also makes appropriations for equipment and to meet deficits incurred by the various institutions.70 The feeble minded and epileptics are cared for in part by the state and in part by a privately owned and managed instition for children. *71 The state maintains two institutions, one at Polk and one at Spring City. The private institution received $152,171 from the state in 1914, and $118,287 from other sources, including $53,575 from pay pupils. *72
66 Aud. Gen. Report (1916), p. 599.
67 From the reports of the schools as published in the Report of the Board of Public Charities (1914), pp. 134, 145,155,162. 68 Idem, pp. 168, 177.
69 In theory the state appropriation is supposed to apply only for the support of indigent children.
70 See statement as to state appropriations in 1913, for the school for the deaf at Scranton, Board of Public Charities, Report (1914), p. 162, and for the school for the deaf at Philadelphia, idem, p. 155.
71 The Pennsylvania Training School for Feeble-Minded Children, at Elwyn.
72 Board of Public Charities, Report (1914), p. 115.
Privately managed institutions that care for and educate the deaf, blind, or feeble-minded children receive the larger part of their appropriations in accordance with the number of children maintained at state expense. The state pays an annual amount per child, which is determined by the legislature. Furthermore, the state Board of Charities is given power to determine whether the service is adequate and to prescribe standards. These institutions are therefore called " semi-state institutions" to distinguish them, on the one hand, from privately owned hospitals and orphanages which receive lump-sum grants, and, on the other, from state owned and operated concerns.
Soldiers' orphans are now cared for in special institutions. In 1914 the state disbursed $101,422 and in 1916 $89,663 on account of these schools. *73 Practically, no duplication results from the existence of these schools and the privately managed institutions since the state schools are open only to a particular class. Nor is there any duplication in the matter of the reformatories for juvenile offenders, although the western institution is state owned while that near Philadelphia is classed as a semi-state institution.
Now one of the criticisms that has been advanced against the Pennsylvania system of subventions is that the money which should have been used for the development of state institutions has been appropriated for the use of private concerns. In 1901 a committee of the National Conference of Charities and Corrections, in reporting on state subsidies to charity, made the following statement: "It is evident that in Pennsylvania enormous amounts are expended yearly for things of doubtful public utility, while for lack of funds, the state never has provided adequately for the insane, the feeble-minded, and various other classes. " *74 This general statement of the committee is amply supported by the reports of the Board of Public Charities. In 1899, the General Agent of the board reported that although the legislature had been frequently appealed to, in previous years, to make more liberal appropriations for asylums for the insane and feeble-minded, it had failed to make accommodations for these classes more nearly adequate. *75 At this time, the treasury of the state was far from prosperous. But in spite of that fact, appropriations for privately managed hospitals and the like continued to amount to over $2,000,000 each biennium. *76 Yet it was the opinion of the state board that the number of separate hospital organizations was considerably greater than required. *77
73 Aud. Gen. Report (1914), p. 600.
74 Twenty-eighth National Conference of Charities and Corrections (1901), p. 129. The committee was composed of the following men: Levi L. Barbour, Jeffrey R. Brackett, Homer Folks, Philip C. Garrett, Henry Hopkins, Alexander Johnson, and Frank A. Fetter, chairman.
75 Board of Public Charities, Report (1899), pp. 8 ff.
76 See table on p. 219 supra.
77 Report (1899), p. 5.
78 See their Reports (1901), p. 4; (1902), pp. 1-3.