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August 4, 1997: Preparing Our Cities for the 21st Century

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Preparing our Cities for the 21st Century


"Our historic balanced budget is an empowerment budget, preparing Americans for the 21st century."

-- President to the National Urban League, 8/4/97

Today, President Clinton addresses the Nation Urban League in Washington, D.C. Noting that the recently passed balanced budget is the strongest budget for America's cities in a generation, the President will detail how this historic agreement will empower America's cities. The balanced budget builds on the Administration's four and a half year record of accomplishment and helps to address the challenges still facing urban communities.


ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT: Triples the Number of Empowerment Zones (EZs) -- The President won inclusion of 20 new EZs in the balanced budget -- 15 urban and 5 rural. These new EZs will be eligible for the Brownfields tax incentive, special expensing of business assets, and qualification for private-activity bonds. Two additional new EZs have the same tax credits as the 1994 versions. With the 22 new Empowerment Zones, the total number of EZs created by President Clinton climbs to 31.

ENVIRONMENTAL CLEAN-UP: Cleaning Up 14,000 Contaminated, Abandoned Sites -- The President fought for and won the inclusion of the Brownfields tax incentive in the balanced budget; this tax incentive reduces costs by permitting clean-up costs to be deducted immediately for tax purposes and encourages redevelopment of these areas. Treasury estimates that the program will leverage more than $6 billion for private sector cleanups nationwide, allowing redevelopment of 14,000 brownfields.

FIGHTING CRIME: The balanced budget protects funding for the Community Oriented Policing Services (COPS) initiative, which is putting 100,000 more police officers on the street by the year 2000.

INVESTMENTS IN CHILDREN: Unprecedented Investments in Our Children,s Health and Education -- The balanced budget includes the largest investment in higher education since the G.I. Bill in 1945, including: $1,500 hope scholarship to help make two years of college universally available, and a 20% tuition tax credit for college juniors, seniors, graduate students and working Americans pursuing lifelong learning to upgrade their skills. It also includes the single largest investment in health care for children since 1965 ($24 billion) and $500 per child tax credit for approximately 27 million families.

WELFARE TO WORK: Helping Cities and Employers Move People from Welfare to Work -- Helping cities move welfare recipients to jobs, the balanced budget includes $3 billion in Welfare-to-Work Job Challenge funds. In addition, the balanced budget includes a welfare-to-work tax credit that gives employers an added incentive to hire and keep long-term welfare recipients.

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