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President-elect begins to map agenda that includes cities.

President-elect Bill Clinton last week demonstrated his intent to end the gridlock between the White House and Congress and to begin to make a new commitment to cities.

After a private meeting with President Bush at the White House on Wednesday and in a later visit to a Washington neighborhood, Clinton said he would push a plan to revive inner cities. In particular, the President-elect said he would push his proposal to create community banks that would provide capital for small businesses (See related Banking & Cities story on 7).

Telling some of the minority business owners on Georgia Avenue in the nation's capital that his community bank proposals to provide capital to small business would be "the quickest way to generate jobs in America," Clinton said, "We've got some plans and we'll put them in if Congress goes along, and I think they will."

The President-elect met with three top leaders from the Congress in Little Rock last week and then again in Washington on Thursday. On Wednesday, he met with President Bush to discuss the transition and then took one of the first tours ever taken by a President to a section of Washington far from the White House. The tour was apparently designed to send a message of the President-elect's commitment to revitalizing communities.

Governor Clinton met with the Congressional leadership to map out his highest priorities for the nation. He met with Senate Majority Leader George Mitchell (D-Maine), House Speaker Thomas Foley (D-Wash.), and House Majority Leader Richard Gephardt (D-Mo.) to try and resolve potential conflicts with the Congress which could divert the focus from his efforts to push an economic stimulus package through the Congress and take the first substantive steps to reduce the federal deficit.

The President-elect was scheduled to start high level meetings with his top economic advisors last Wednesday to begin to develop his economic stimulus plan and the structure of his domestic economic team. That plan is expected to include both direct funding to create jobs in cities and towns as well as an investment tax credit to create as many as 500,000 jobs and leverage private investment in tools and machinery.

Former NLC President Henry Cisneros, a member of the Clinton transition team, indicated that Clinton had a strong and personal interest in neighborhood revitalization and partnerships with non-profit community organizations.

With less than 60 days before the 103rd Congress meets and barely more than 90 to draft a federal budget proposal for next year, Clinton's transition team must immediately focus on setting his agenda for the first 100 days of his presidency and writing a massive budget proposal.

The first priority of the new team and administration is expected to be a "jobs" stimulus package. The President-elect had set a target of introducing a jobs-investment package on his first day in office.

Indicating his wish to replace "trickle down" economics, Clinton during his campaign proposed both a Rebuild America Fund and tax credits for private investment as part of a jobs program that would jumpstart the economy, but provide long term results.

How the new Clinton team will shape this agenda and how it will affect the nation's cities and towns remains to be seen.

Clinton's Campaign Economic Strategy

President-elect Clinton proposes his "Putting People First" agenda last June, which many believe will serve as a guidepost for his agenda for the first 100 days. In his plan, Clinton urged approximately $50 billion annually in new investments over the next four years, paired with slightly greater amounts of cuts and tax increases--so that he would change budget priorities to reduce the federal deficit, but invest substantially more in human and public infrastructure.

Following are the key proposals affecting cities:

* Rebuild America Fund: $20 billion annually for four critical areas: Transportation; National Information Network; Environmental Technology for Advanced Cleanup and Recycling; and Defense Economic Conversion;

* Investing in Communities: Target funding and CDBG for rebuilding infrastructure; create a nationwide network of community development banks for investments in inner cities; put 100,000 new police officers on the street and create a National Police Corps to help cities fight crime; create urban enterprise zones; pass a more progressive Community Reinvestment Act;

* Encourage Private Investment in America: provide targeted investment tax credits and offer a 50 percent tax exclusion to those who make risky long term investments in new businesses;

* Human Investment: Expand the Earned Income Tax Credit; fully fund both Head Start and the Women, Infants, and Children (WIC) programs; enact a Safe Schools Initiative; create a Youth Opportunity Corps; create a National Apprenticeship Program; inaugurate a National Service Trust Fund; and create an employer-funded Worker Retraininig program; and

* Quality, Affordable health Care: Provide universal, affordable access to health care through national spending caps, universal coverage, managed care networks, and a core benefits package.
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Title Annotation:Bill Clinton
Author:Shafroth, Frank
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Nov 23, 1992
Previous Article:L.A. six months later: prospects remain bleak.
Next Article:Clinton must confront balancing act; the deficit versus the economy.

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