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Assistance

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Enforcement.

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Social welfare...

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Employment services

Poverty program.

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Transportation (see also Interlocal Relations, Fiscal Manage-

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Mass transportation.

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Highways..

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Urban growth and development (see also llousing)

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National urban growth policy

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State urban growth policy-

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Planning --

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Private enterprise

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State action on ACIR recommendations.

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Policy reports of the ACIR...

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INTRODUCTION

The Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations will celebrate the 15th Anniversary of its creation by public law on September 24, 1974.

Charged with monitoring the operations of our federal system of government and directed to make recommendations for solutions to critical problems of intergovernmental relations, the Commission has studied conflict points in governmental structure, tensions in financial and tax relationships, urban problems and the rural plight. It has probed these issues in an effort to develop practical solutions to these problems of everyday government. The resulting recommendations— nearly 370 over the 15-year period—address these problems with pragmatic suggestions.

Soon after its establishment, the members of the Commission agreed that although the statute created it as a “permanent” body, the role of the Commission should be reviewed and evaluated by Congress at appropriate intervals to see whether this experiment in the evolution of American federalism was working out as Congress intended. Accordingly, as it approached its fifth birthday the Commission suggested that such a Congressional review be undertaken. The Subcommittees on Intergovernmental Relations of the Senate and House Committees on Government Operations responded by holding joint hearings in May of 1965. At these hearings the five-year record of ACIR was reviewed and its future role discussed.

Five years later the Commission suggested that a similar review be undertaken and at joint hearings on November 12, 1971 ACIR's entire 12-year history was reviewed. This report has been compiled as a 15-year overview, although the 15-year Congressional hearings logically may not be scheduled until five years have elapsed since their last review.

History of THE CoMMIssion

Dating from the establishment of the Republic, the division of authority and responsibility between the National Government and the States has been debated more frequently with more fervor than any other feature of our governmental system.

Growth in the size .# complexity of governmental activity in our modern life has added greatly to the variety and extent of interaction among the several levels of government. This development, in turn, has increased the need for achieving genuine intergovernmental cooperation. In this process, municipal and State officials inevitably have become more and more concerned with intergovernmental relations and comparable involvement has characterized recent Congresses and Presidents.

During President Truman's Administration, the Commission on Organization of the Executive Branch of the Government (the first "Hoover Commission”) addressed itself to the relationships between Federal and State governments, with special reference to the administration of grant-in-aid programs. In one of its reports it recommended that a permanent agency "be created with primary responsibility for study, information and guidance in the field of Federal-State relations.

In 1953, President Eisenhower called for a thorough review of intergovernmental relations. Congress responded by authorizing the creation of a temporary commission made up of persons appointed by the President and Members of both Houses of Congress. This Commission came to be known by the name of its Chairman, the late Meyer Kestnbaum of Chicago. In 1955 the Kestnbaum Commission issued its formal report, the most comprehensive review of intergovernmental relations to that time since the adoption of the Constitution.

The Kestnbaum report covered not only the philosophical aspects of federalism but also contained a wide variety of specific recommendations on the allocation of functions and responsibilities between the National Government and the States.

In 1955-58 the House Intergovernmental Relations Subcommittee, under the Chairmanship of Congressman Fountain of North Carolina, made a comprehensive study of the recommendations of the Kestnbaum Commission, including those relating to a permanent arrangement within the National Government to deal with intergovernmental relations. After a series of hearings running through 1956 and 1957, the subcommittee agreed upon a bill to create a permanent Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations. Hearings on this bill were held jointly with a subcommittee of the Senate Committee on Government Operations. A companion measure was sponsored in the Senate by Senator Muskie of Maine and 25 other Senators. These bills culminated in the enactment of Public Law 380 in the first session of the 86th Congress.

Public Law 86–380, approved by the President September 24, 1959, provided for the establishment of the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations, a permanent, bipartisan body of 26 members, to give continuing study to the relationships among local, and National levels of government.

In 1966, as a result of the first joint review of ACIR, Congress passed and the President approved Public Law 89-733 which amends the original Act. The major effect of this change is to allow the Commission to receive funds through "grants, contracts, and contributions from State and local governments and organizations thereof, and from nonprofit organizations" and to permit members whose terms expire to serve until their successors are appointed.

Besides producing proposed amendments to the law creating ACIR, the five and ten year hearings resulted in several helpful suggestions about the operating procedures and research selections of the Commission. ACIR has sought to adopt those suggestions and, as a result, it holds m re public hearings than previously, has exapnded its list of recommendations applicable to local governments, and has undertaken studies of various elements of the federal grant programs.

THE CoMMission's UNIQUE STATUS

The Commission occupies a unique place in the governmental structure of the United States. First, it is unique in its mission of monitoring the operation of the federal system, identifying and analyzing the causes of intergovernmental tensions and conflicts, and recommending ways of improving the American federal system.

Second, it is unique in its composition. Its bipartisan membership includes representatives from the legislative and executive branches of all levels of government—Federal, State and local—as well as the general public.

Third, its financial support is unique. Although its basic operation is supported by. Congressional appropriations, the Commission also periodically receives token contributions from State and local governments, contributions from non-profit organizations and grants from private foundations and occasionally from other Federal agencies.

Fourth, its permanence is unique. Unlike Presidential commissions and other temporary advisory groups which are set up for the sole purpose of studying specific problems, and which terminate after reporting their findings and conclusions to the President and Congress, the Advisory Commission on Intergovernmental Relations is a permanent . It has the opportunity and the obligation to encourage and assist policymakers at all levels to place into effect the reforms it has proposed for strengthening the American federal system. It thereby provides continuity to the evolution of the federal SWstem.

The mission of the Commission is particularly significant in light of the current widespread interest in strengthening State and local governments. This interest will continue to grow as states and local governments assume necessary responsibility for dealing with the complex domestic problems facing the nation.

#. law establishing ACIR contains the following “Declaration of Purpose”:

Because the complexity of modern life intensifies the need in a federal form of government for the fullest cooperation and coordination of activities between the levels of government, and because population growth and scientific developments portend an increasingly complex society in future years, it is essential that an appropriate agency be established to give continuing attention to intergovernmental problems.

It is intended that the Commission, in the performance of its duties will—

(1) o together representatives of the Federal, State and local governments for the consideration of common problems;

(2) provide a forum for discussing the administration and coordination of Federal grant and other programs requiring intergovernmental cooperation.

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