1927 Budget Message (excerpt)

Washington, D.C. | December 5, 1927

Full speech available here.


I am including in this budget an estimate of $1,108,000 for the promotion of the welfare and hygiene of maternity and infancy. I refer to this estimate for two reasons. The first is, that the authorization for this appropriation expires with the fiscal year 1929. The second is, that it marks the termination of federal contribution to a project which is for state control and administration. The extension for two years of the provisions of the act for the promotion of the welfare and hygiene of maternity and infancy was approved with the understanding that its administration during these two added years would be with a view to the discontinuance of federal aid thereafter. Six years of experience under the able administration that has characterized the Government’s policy warrants this permanent withdrawal of federal aid, assured that the states are now or should be able to carry on this work without aid or interference from the federal Government.

This opens up the whole subject of state aid, which despite frequent warnings continues strongly entrenched in federal operations. While the amount of money taken annually from the federal Treasury for subsidies to states is not inconsiderable, the dangers inherent in the policy are of far greater importance. To relieve the states of their just obligations by resort to the federal Treasury in the final result is hurtful rather than helpful to the State, and unfair to the payers of national taxes. To tempt the states by federal subsidies to sacrifice their vested rights is not a wholesome practice no matter how worthy the object to be attained.

Federal interference in state functions can never be justified as a permanent continuing policy even if, which is doubtful, such interference is warranted by emergent conditions as a temporary expedient. As shown in the Maternity and Infancy Act, when once the Government engages in such enterprise it is almost impossible to terminate its connection therewith. We should not only decidedly refuse to countenance additional federal participation in state-aid projects, but should make careful study of all our activities of that character with a view to curtailing them.