spend relief monies at a faster rate, but this tightfistedness guaranteed that the state would not exhaust the funds before it arranged for additional appropriations. 73 Lehman also assured bipartisan support for public assistance by appointing many Republicans to TERA and consulting G.O.P. legislative leaders before embarking on any new relief policy. 74
New Yorkers on relief fared better than other needy Americans primarily because of the infusion of both state and federal aid. The Empire State began supplementing local relief in 1931, but hard-pressed communities soon found they needed more than a 40 percent contribution from Albany. Thanks to the addition of federal funds in 1933, TERA managed to pay two-thirds of all local relief costs by the end of the year and, the following spring, it started footing three-quarters of the total bill.
In spite of the unprecedented extension of state and federal funds, New Dealers in Albany and Washington conceived of this step as a temporary expedient to meet an emergency situation. Overwhelmed by the immediacy of the unemployment crisis, officials continued through 1934 to devise relief programs on virtually a month-to-month basis, since they scarcely had time to think about the future, let alone plan for it. The reliance on loans to finance unemployment relief indicated the stopgap nature of assistance. During Lehman's first term as governor, many New Yorkers still expected a business revival, which would end the need for state and federal subsidies. Yet despite the temporary character of aid for the jobless, Albany and Washington had accepted responsibility for the welfare of indigent citizens for the first time in history. The next few years would determine whether New York would return to the primitive "poor relief" system of pre-Depression days.