This section is from the "The Subvention In The State Finances Of Pennsylvania" book, by Frederic B. Garver.
Large appropriations to these institutions have also been due in the past to political manipulation. It has been asserted, *19 and never successfully denied, that the appropriations have been used to further the interests of political parties. A conservative newspaper stated in 1912 that the appropriations were " . . . made one of the agencies by which the corrupt political machine has cemented its power among its followers in the Senate and House, and among the people who are interested in humanitarian uplift. *20
19 See a series of papers read in the general meeting of the Medical Society of the State of Pennsylvania, in 1909, especially those by Dr. John B. Roberts and Dr. Horace G. McCormick, Pennsylvania Medical Journal, vol. XIII, pp. 250-267, and the discussion following. Even those among the medical profession who defended the grants to hospitals could not deny that politics played a part in the appropriations.
20 Philadelphia Public Ledger, 9 May, 1912.
Appropriations to state
Appropriations to institutions
and semi-state institutions3
not under state control4
1 Board of Public Charities, Report (1915), p. 260.
2 The legislature meets in odd years, and appropriations are for expenditures for the two years beginning June 1 of the year in which they meet.
3 State institutions are those entirely under the ownership and control of the state. But appropriations for the indigent insane, for the treatment of tuberculosis, and for soldiers' orphans are not included. Semi-state institutions include the schools for the blind, the deaf-mutes, and for a private hospital for the insane. These institutions are either paid an annual amount for each person cared for at state expense or are given lump-sum grants; they are partly controlled by the state.
4 These include privately managed hospitals, homes for children and the aged, training schools, industrial schools, societies for the prevention and treatment of tuberculosis and some miscellaneous organizations.
The grants are used by those in power in a number of ways. Sometimes a portion of the appropriation, it is asserted, is paid by the beneficiary of the grant into the local party treasury. *21 But such methods are not usual. Probably the most common method of utilizing the grants for political purposes is their employment to influence the votes of members of the state legislature. If a member fails to secure liberal appropriations for the various charitable organizations in his district he endangers his chances of re-election. On the other hand, if he is very successful in obtaining subsides he is sure of the support of the voters interested in, or connected with the institutions receiving aid. Thus the subsides to privately managed charities are Pennsylvania's "pork barrel. " *22
21 See a statement by H. W. Cattell, Discussion, Pennsylvania Medical Journal, Vol. XIII, pp. 267-277.
22 See a statement by Mr. Dunn in the House of Representatives in 1913. Legislative Journal, p. 487.
The use of the subvention for political purposes is not of recent origin. *23 In 1891 Albert S. Bolles stated that the appropriations were not made in accordance with any rule and that he had evidence that in some cases the state paid more than the entire annual expenses of the institutions subsidized. *24 However, the more serious evil was the demoralization of the members of the legislature. Friends of the "charities" had used their influence to secure the appointment of committees favorable to lavish distributions. *25 " When this preliminary is finished, the work of the legislator begins. He must never lose sight of the 'charity' in his district. He must, therefore, keep on good terms with everybody; he must antagonize no one; he must oppose no scheme however bad it may be; he must help others whether their bills are meritorious or not, ... all these things must be done in order to secure an appropriation for the 'charity' in his own district. And still more, the less deserving the charity the harder he must labor, the more he must debase himself in order to succeed. " *26 For, if he did not, it was very probable that he would fail of re-election.
23 For conditions existing 1860-1870 see Chapter V.
24 Revenue Commission of 1889, Report, p. 147.
25 Idem, p. 148.