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Transition team members meet with NLC board at Congress of Cities.

Key members of President-Elect Bill Clinton's transition team met with NLC Board members last week in New Orleans to discuss a national economic recovery proposal put forth by NLC's leadership.

NLC President Glenda Hood and the NLC Board of Directors presented a plan for economic recovery to Clinton transition team members Henry Cisneros, Gene Sperling and Lottie Shackelford during its meeting at the Congress of Cities after approving changes to focus additional funds to meet the cost of unfunded federal mandates and to include the specific elements central to any serious effort to reduce the federal deficit.

Board Member and Cambridge, Mass. Councilor Alice K. Wolf, led transition team members through highlights of the four-page paper entitled, "The Economic Recovery Plan." Wolf separated the paper into three areas of concern: (1) restarting our economies through an economic stimulus strategy; (2) reforming federal budget priorities for investment and deficit reduction; and (3) investing in communities and people.

Wolf said local governments already have the leadership, structure, and locally-designed projects in place ready to move quickly to restart the nation's economy. "There is no better way to get our country or our communities moving again. We have the people, the resources, and the willingness to make contributions to ensure a partnership for long-term investment."

Cisneros, former NLC president and a former mayor of San Antonio, echoed the report's assertion that cities are important to the national economy and praised the recommendations from the NLC Board, calling them "timely."

"This paper is timely in finding its way into the (national) economic package, as it is presently being formed, "Cisneros told the Board. "Increasingly there is scholarly work being done that stresses the importance of cities to the economy."

"I am certain that an element soon to be a part of President Clinton's administration's mission will be partnership... The channels by which any national policies take effect is through local government," said Cisneros.

NLC Advisory Council Chair and Little Rock, Ark. Director Lottie Shackelford promised the Board she would take the lead, as a member of the transition team, in strengthening the new administration's intergovernmental efforts. She plans to coordinate with cities to ensure that the national agenda is designed with cities in mind, to be treated as team players in reaching national goals.

Sperling, deputy director for economic policy to Clinton, said he has already communicated the NLC recommendations to top Clinton aides and they have begun preliminary discussions on how to utilize the information in the national agenda currently being formed by the president-elect.

He raised some concern about NLC recommendations to appropriate funds to include $2.5 billion for infrastructure, particularly to ensure "funding of the nation's new highway and public transportation laws," but was clear that creating a network of community development banks is a high priority.

Sperling said Clinton advisors are studying the positives and negatives that may be associated with an influx of funding to the economy.

The Board members in their comments made clear that "Restarting local economies and reforming federal budget priorities were critical and must be addressed simultaneously.

The presence of past NLC President Tom Bradley, mayor of Los Angeles, emphasized the Board's concern about the continued federal inability to keep commitments made last year to respond to the events in Los Angeles and other cities have not been met."

The Board created and unanimously adopted the plan after meeting with the Clinton aides, after taking into account thoughts and ideas presented by Board members. The Board then directed the staff to convert the plan into a resolution for consideration and adoption at the Annual Business Meeting.

"Our cites are going to be involved in the movement. Whether it's recovery or down the tubes--we are there," said NLC Past President Cathy Reynolds, Denver councilwoman-at-large.

Under restarting economies through an economic stimulus strategy, the Board encouraged the Clinton team to reorder budget priorities by relying on tried and tested programs and existing delivery systems that can produce the most efficient action and results.

To reform federal spending priorities for investment and deficit reduction, the Board suggested the new president and congressional leaders simultaneously offer a realistic plan to reorder federal spending; including specific deadlines for action and clear consequences for failure to meet those deadlines. The Board charged that any credible deficit plan will have to address defense spending, entitlement programs, and increased revenues.

Incoming NLC President Don Fraser urged municipal leaders toe agents of positive change: "Our federal government has many obsolete spending and budget priorities. We need fundamental changes to find the vision and ability to complete in a transformed global economy. We must convert our economies to reinvest in our children," the strategy stated.

Other Business

The Board approved holding the 1995 Congress of Cities in Phoenix, Ariz., with dates to be determined later.
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Title Annotation:includes related information on the 1992 officers and Board of Directors; National League of Cities
Author:Baker, Denise
Publication:Nation's Cities Weekly
Date:Dec 7, 1992
Previous Article:Congress is back with a full plate of issues that impact cities.
Next Article:Local officials look ahead with guarded optimism.

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