The intergovernmental grant system as seen by local, State, and Federal officials : Page: 81
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were 38 percent greater than Federal grants.7
Offsetting the Federal grant system's dollar inferiority
are a number of factors that give that system
more impact. A larger share of Federal assistance
is in the form of categorical grants than is the
case with state assistance. City officials responding
to the survey reported that about 39 percent of their
state aids were for general support; county officials
reported about 54 percent. On the Federal aid side,
block grants were reported to be 31 and 23 percent
of total aids, respectively, by city and county officials.
Categorical grants clearly involve more admninistrative
requirements than block or general
support grants. On the fiscal side, one of the features
of categoricals is their usefulness in stimulating
local expenditures on particular activities. The
responses to the Federal questionnaire indicated
that local officials felt that categoricals tended to
skew local budget priorities more than block
grants did. On the other hand, they thought the
Stimulative effect of block grants was longer
lasting than that of the categoricals.
Objective measures, such as relative size of the
total Federal and state aid packages and the relative
portion of each that is made up of categorical
grants, are significant but not the whole story in
trying to account for people's perceptions. These
officials' perceptions as expressed in their responses
to this survey may reflect their exposure to
the conventional attitudes current among local officials
with respect to the relative influence of the
Federal and state governments on their local affairs.
The important thing is that their perceptions
can be taken as indicative of their likely reaction to
policy issues in intergovernmental relations, and
specifically in matters relating to intergovernmental
grant assistance. For Federal and state policymakers
responsible for the design and administration
of their respective grant systems, these perceptions
should serve as the starting points in deciding
whether those systems should be changed and,
if so, in what directions.
'Treated here as a categorical program though treated as a
target grant in Improving Federal Grants Management, Vol. II
of the series, The Intergovernmental Grant System: An Assess'ent
and Proposed Policies.
^ fourth block grant, Partnership for Health, was also listed on
the questionnaire, but the responses were not useable.
3This may reflect the special effort of NACO to familiarize its
nlTembers with the benefits flowing from this circular.
4See ACIR, Safe Streets Reconsidered: The Block Grant Experience
1968-1975, Vol. IV of the series, The Intergovernmental
Grant System: An Assessment and Proposed Policies (1976).
5Housing rehabilitation loans, sec. 312, Housing Act of 1964,
6This distribution does not conform to the pattern usually derived
from analyses of state aid. A major reason for the difference
may be that the usual analysis includes Federal passthrough
funds in state aid; this analysis classifies them as
Federal aid. The bulk of Federal pass-through funds to counties
consists of categorical public assistance.
7The estimate was made by Maxwell Graduate School, Syracuse
University, cited in ACIR, The States and Intergovernmental
Aids, Vol. VIII in the series, The Intergovernmental Grant
System: An Assessment and Proposed Policies. "As defined in
this survey" means that Federal pass-through funds are included
as Federal grants, and that education grants are largely
excluded, since they go mainly to school districts independent
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United States. Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. The intergovernmental grant system as seen by local, State, and Federal officials :, book, March 1977; Washington, D.C.. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc1368/m1/89/: accessed April 22, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.