The extent of the state's payments for institutions directly under its own control and the growth of such payments from 1891 to 1916 are shown in the table on the following page.

Payments From The State Treasury For The Support Of State Institutions, Including Penitentiaries, Reformatories, Institutions For Defectives, Hospitals, The Soldiers' And Sailors' Home, Soldiers' Orphans' Schools, And Sanitoria, In 1891 And In 1914 *1

Institutions

18912

19162

Penitentiaries..............................................................................

$ 95,140

92,944

60,409

450,455

$ 520,551

Pennsylvania Industrial Reformatory, Huntingdon3..........

131,311

Pennsylvania Reform School, Morganza4..............................

115,722

State Asylums for the insane..................................................

1,543,792

Institutions for defectives........................................................

741,707

Hospitals5.................................................................................

87,640

72,500

132,393

384,195

Soldiers' and Sailors' Home....................................................

99,500

Soldiers' Orphans' Schools........................................................

89,663

Sanitoria6....................................................................................

1,362,903

     

Total.................................................................................

$991,481

$4,989,3447

   

1 From the Reports of the Auditors General for the years given. The amounts given do not include payments for such administrative expenses as the salaries or expenses of the Board of Pardons, the Board of Public Charities, and the like.

2 For the fiscal year ending November 30.

3 An industrial reformatory for men and boys. 4 A reformatory for children.

5 The state maintains a number of hospitals for injured miners in the coal regions.

6 These sanitoria are for the treatment of tuberculosis.

7 In addition to this amount the state expended $133,678 for the construction of buildings for new institutions not yet in operation.

The total of all payments for institutions under state control was greater by $1,498,313 in 1916 than the total of the subventions paid to privately managed charities. But the increase in the amount expended by the state for institutions directly administered from 1891 to 1914 was 383 per cent, and to 1916, 402 per cent, while payments to privately managed concerns increased 654 per cent to 1914, and 428 per cent to 1916. It should also be noted that nearly one-half of the payments to state institutions were for the support of penitentiaries, reformatories, or asylums for the insane.

The increase in total payments for charitable institutions, both state and private, and for reformatories in Pennsylvania may properly be regarded as the result of forces that are everywhere at work to augment governmental expenditures for these objects. But the growth of the subventions both in absolute amount and as compared with expenditures for state institutions must be traced to causes peculiar to Pennsylvania, since a similar development is not common among other states of the union.

The most general explanation of the enlargement of the grants is that they are a product of haphazard methods in state finance. Boards of trustees and managers of hospitals and homes are very naturally desirous of obtaining assistance from the state if the conditions attached to the payment of appropriations are neither numerous nor exacting. In Pennsylvania, the conditions imposed have been extremely liberal. Furthermore, the state has never had a budgetary policy. Without careful comparison of the amounts expended for various general divisions of governmental activity, and without judicious appraisal of the relative benefit to be derived from each service, it is not difficult for one or two branches of expenditure to out-run all others. The absence of such comparison and appraisal in Pennsylvania has made it possible for the subventions to privately managed concerns to increase rapidly.

A further cause for the increase of this type of subvention is the character of the state's revenue system. Practically all the revenue of the state is derived from taxes upon corporate wealth or upon business, and the majority of the people and of the voters pay no direct state taxes. It follows, therefore, that property owners throughout the state are only indirectly interested from a pecuniary standpoint in the disposition of funds by the legislature. Without attempting to state at this point whether the subvention policy is good or bad, we may still assert that it seems very likely that a lack of interest on the part of the majority of taxpayers makes lavish expenditure possible.