Dwight D. Eisenhower photo

Statement by the President Concerning the Need for a Presidential Commission on Federal- State Relations.

February 26, 1953

FOR A LONG TIME I have thought that there must be a clarification of the responsibilities of the State and Federal governments in many fields of public activity. The Federal Government has assumed an increasing variety of functions, many of which originated or are duplicated in State Government.

Another phase of this problem relates to taxation. The existing systems of taxation, both at the Federal and State level, contain many gross inequalities insofar as the tax burden between citizens of different states is concerned. There is often a pyramiding of taxation, State taxes being superimposed upon Federal taxes in the same field.

The development of the Federal Social Security system warrants study. This analysis should encompass not only the distribution of costs between the State and Federal government but also the operation and coverage of the system itself. It is a proper function of government to help build a sturdy floor over the pit of personal disaster, and to this objective we are all committed. However, we are equally committed to carrying out that great program efficiently and with greatest benefit to those whom it is designed to help.

The purpose of the meeting to which you are invited is to discuss with me proposed legislation providing for the creation of the Commission, the manner of its procedure, financial support and other related matters, and the selection of a working staff in order to accomplish the purposes of the study.

Note: The White House release of which this statement was a part announced that the President had met on February 26 with representatives of the Congress and the Governors' Conference, and with members of the administration. At the meeting the President proposed the establishment of a bipartisan Presidential commission on Federal-State relations. On March 30, in a special message to the Congress the President formally recommended the establishment of such a commission (see Item 39).

Dwight D. Eisenhower, Statement by the President Concerning the Need for a Presidential Commission on Federal- State Relations. Online by Gerhard Peters and John T. Woolley, The American Presidency Project https://www.presidency.ucsb.edu/node/231885

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