DONALD H. HAIDER
The sweep of broad national social-economic forces over the past two decades caused New York State to confront new conditions beyond its immediate control. Rapid industrialization of agriculture and displacement of unskilled workers, particularly in the South, generated a steady stream of rural migration to New York City and other areas in the state. This resulted in the concentration of large numbers of low-income people, chiefly minority groups, in the cities. While migration increased the population, federal programs in highways and housing promoted the exodus of job-producing industry and higher-income residents to suburban areas. These national migration patterns of people and business produced a mismatch of social problems and fiscal resources. Fiscal disparities between cites and suburbs led the state to assume responsibility for supporting basic social services and redistributing larger amounts of its tax collections to local governments.
Federal efforts further compounded New York's problems. The national government had long been active in providing grants in aid to states, but the character of these grants changed significantly over the years. From the 1920s through the 1950s federal assistance to states progressed from flat grants for supporting minimum service levels to variable matching ratios in categorical grant programs to promote geographic distribution of wealth, transferring revenues from above-average-income to below-average-income states. These programs generally focused upon rural America and the poorer states, and as a consequence (with the exception of highways, agriculture, and rather marginal in