Spending Power (West's Encyclopedia of American Law)
The power of legislatures to tax and spend.
Spending power is conferred to state and federal legislatures through their constitution. JUDICIAL REVIEW of legislative spending varies from state to state, but the law of federal spending informs courts in all states.
The power of the U.S. Congress to tax and spend for the GENERAL WELFARE is granted under Article I, Section 8, Clause 1, of the U.S. Constitution: "The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States." This clause is known as the Spending Power Clause or the General Welfare Clause. The Spending Power Clause does not grant to Congress the power to pass all laws for the general welfare; that is a power reserved to the states under the TENTH AMENDMENT. Rather, it gives Congress the power to control federal taxation and spending.
Before 1913, federal spending was relatively minuscule and was generally reserved for military support in time of war. Federal revenues were generated through tariffs on imports, excise taxes on certain activities and professions, and state and local property taxes. In 1913, the States ratified the SIXTEENTH AMENDMENT to the Constitution, which guaranteed to Congress the power to lay and...
(The entire section is 1392 words.)
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