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Executive Records, Governor Spiro T. Agnew, 1967-1969
Volume 83, Page 989   View pdf image (33K)
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REPUBLICAN GOVERNORS' CONFERENCE 989

sensitive to the problems and pressures confronting the Congress.
Thus, it is with all humility that I offer my office as the channel to
further understanding between the two.

As a first step toward increased harmony, I suggest to you and to
the Congressional leadership the formation of a Federal Legislative-
State Executive Committee to operate explicitly in this area. The
Committee could primarily function as an instrument for inter-level
and inter-branch communication. It could evaluate future develop-
ments in regional cooperative ventures or compacts and it could serve
as the focal point to smooth the existing snags straining Congress-
State House relationships.

Certainly, I can sympathize with the nation's Senators and Congress-
men who want to do a job for their constituents. But I also recognize
that sometimes our Senators and Representatives have failed to ac-
curately forecast the impact of their legislation on state government.

In the past decade, Congress has enacted measures of tremendous
social significance. Important national programs have been estab-
lished, but in many cases they have been financed neither fully nor
fairly. We, as Governors, can applaud their vision but we cannot al-
ways agree with their ideas of implementation.

Frequently, Congress fails to predict the long-range effects of match-
ing grants. Often states have failed to foresee the impact of Federal
aid programs. What seems a Godsend, when the Federal government
is paying 90% of the bill, becomes the devil's own burden when the
program has tripled and the state must pay 50% of the cost of the
newborn giant. This practice of widely scattering seed money and
then withdrawing or curtailing support after a year or two is an in-
vitation to disaster.

Also, there have been occasions when seemingly innocent amend-
ments, tacked to good legislation, have cost the states millions of
dollars. But perhaps the most pervasive grievance of all Governors
relates to the countless specific Federally-funded programs which
totally disregard the realities and priorities within the states.

An unhealthy short circuit has developed between big cities and
the Federal government. This detour around state government could
devastate the principle and purpose of our Federal system. There is
a measure of historical justification for the situation, since state gov-
ernments — prior to reapportionment — often failed to take interest
in, or responsibility for, urban problems. However, this neglect has

 

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Executive Records, Governor Spiro T. Agnew, 1967-1969
Volume 83, Page 989   View pdf image (33K)
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