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NLC testifies domestic agenda secures future.

Stating that National League Cities' top priority is to change the 1990 budget agreement to insure reinvestment in economic security and America's future, Frank Shafroth, NLC's Director of Policy and Federal Relations, told a Congressional committee that converting defense spending to deficit reduction and direct investment in cities would be the most efficient way of stimulating the economy.

Shafroth testified before the House Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development February 5 in support of H.R. 4073, the Emergency Community Development Act of 1992, sponsored by the Subcommittee Chair Rep. Henry B. Gonzalez (D-Tex.).

The bill would provide up to $15 billion in emergency assistance directly to cities. Ten billion of those funds would go to cities using a Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) type formula.

Patricia Ticer, mayor of Alexandria, Va., an NLC direct member city, also testified in support of the bill on behalf of the United States Conference of Mayors.

Shafroth told the panel NLC supports the bill because it provides direct emergency assistance to cities, removes the bias against new construction in the HOME program, extends the waiver for the HOME match requirement for another year, and increases funding assistance for homeless funding.

Marge Roukema (R-N.J.) questioned the necessity of extending the waiver for one year, stating her belief that cities capable of meeting the match should be expected to make a financial commitment to the program.

Responding in agreement, Shafroth said NLC supported efforts last year to have the General Accounting Office (GAO) develop a formula that would address her concern. He also expressed his concern that the match requirement could be used as an excuse by states or local governments that did not want low income housing in their communities.

Shafroth further expressed hope that cities will be able to use portions of these emergency funds to help meet the new new requirements of the Americans With Disabilities Act (ADA). He said that the federal government has a provision protecting small businesses from their inability to comply with the act by providing some federal financial assistance, but there is not comparable protection for cities.

The funds expended through this legislation, according to Shafroth, would "provide long term benefits to the American economy" by infusing money for "jobs, job training, and perhaps, more importantly, public infrastructure with a useful economic life to increase productivity."

Shafroth agreed with committee members who raised concern about offering further tax cuts at the risk of increasing the deficit.

He said that the Gonzalez bill raises the "traditional issue of equity."
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Title Annotation:National League of Cities' leaders advocate domestic spending support to the Subcommittee on Housing and Community Development
Author:Barreto, Julio
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Article Type:Brief Article
Date:Feb 10, 1992
Previous Article:Learn to stimulate economy in your home town.
Next Article:Mayor James backs anti-recession plan.

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