We have to keep working to do what we can to revitalize communities, not by ignoring them or by trying to impose kind of one-size-fits-all programs, but by doing what we've been trying to do -- being a partner with people who live in each community and being a catalyst to bring the spark of private enterprise. These partnerships work in interesting ways....We know that we've got this booming economy; but we also know the overwhelming majority of the capital is bypassing our underserved areas....We've got to find more places to invest and more customers. And the largest pool of untapped investment opportunities and new customers are not beyond our shores, they're in our backyard.
-- President Clinton
January 15, 1998
Despite the longest peacetime economic expansion in history, many urban and rural areas of the country have not had the opportunity to participate in this growth. Additionally, the United States faces tough new challenges of a global economy, as marked by the recent turmoil in emerging markets. Without strong trading partners around the world, our ability to continue to grow and prosper will be dramatically limited.
To meet these needs, President Clinton has announced a the New Markets Investments Initiative, a comprehensive plan that will encourage economic investment in some of our great untapped domestic markets, a re-employment initiative to bridge workers' skills gaps, new investments in making welfare reform work, and is leading the response to the global financial crisis -- to help secure America's future prosperity.
New Markets Investments Initiative
President Clinton's new initiative will bring the capital of Wall Street together with the great human potential of our inner cities and distressed rural areas. The President's New Markets Initiative will spur $15 billion in new capital investment in businesses in underserved areas through a package of tax credits and guarantees including:
· New Markets Tax Credit: A billion dollars of tax credits worth up to 25% of the amount of equity invested in a variety of vehicles for providing equity and credit to businesses in underserved areas.
· America's Private Investment Companies (APICs): Each year, five new private investment partnerships of up to $300 million could be created. For each new APIC, the Department of Housing and Urban Development and the Small Business Administration would provide up to $200 million in loan guarantees to match $100 million in private investment, creating a fund of $300 million for investment in mid-sized firms expanding or relocating into underserved areas.
In 1995, President Clinton proposed a G.I. Bill for America's Workers to reform our employment and training system for the 21st-century economy by empowering individuals, streamlining services, enhancing accountability, and increasing flexibility. For over three years, President Clinton repeatedly pressed Congress to pass job-training reform based on his original proposal. Last year, the Congress finally passed and the President signed comprehensive job training reform. This year, the President proposes a long-term commitment to ensuring that Americans who are displaced from their jobs can get the training they need to get new jobs.
Helping Adults Who Lack Basic Skills
President Clinton will soon announce a major effort to help the more than 44 million adults who perform at the lowest level of literacy to obtain the skills they need to succeed in today's economy and to help immigrants more fully integrate into our civic and social life. This effort includes the 10% tax credit for employers who provide workplace education programs for their employees and a new award to recognize "High Skills" communities for their outstanding achievement in promoting adult education as announced by the Vice President on January 12.
Additional Welfare-to-Work Assistance for Those Who Need it Most
The President announced that he will propose $1 billion in additional funding for his Welfare-to-Work program to ensure that those remaining on the welfare rolls who face the greatest challenges can succeed in the workforce and to increase the employment of low-income fathers so they can better support their children. This funding will help 200,000 people move from welfare to work and will help increase child support collections, which have gone up 80 percent since 1992.
Welfare Rolls Decline as More Recipients go to Work
The President announced that welfare rolls have fallen by nearly half since he took office. Two years ago the President challenged the business community to create jobs so that people can move from welfare to work. Today, 10,000 diverse companies have joined the Welfare to Work Partnership and are successfully hiring and retaining hundreds of thousands former welfare recipients.
Strenghthening Financial Systems
As the world's strongest economy and largest exporter, the United States has led efforts to stem the financial crisis and restore recovery. America has a major interest in designing a global financial architecture that will in the longer term prevent the disruptive cycle of boom and bust by increasing openness and accountability, strengthening national financial systems and international surveillance, providing more orderly mechanisms for crisis response, and ensuring the participation of the private sector in crisis prevention and mitigation.
Global Trade Agenda
The President called for a new consensus on trade that expands America's opportunities in the global economy while ensuring that expanded trade benefits all citizens by promoting prosperity, respecting worker rights, and protecting the environment. He asked Congress to join him in this new consensus by granting traditional trade negotiating authority to pursue an ambitious trade agenda. The President called for the launch of a far-reaching new WTO global trade Round to shape the world trading system in the 21st century. The President will work with Congress toward swift passage of legislation that will expand America's economic ties with Africa's strongest reformers and Latin American countries devastated by Hurricane Mitch. To strengthen labor standards around the world, President Clinton's FY 2000 budget for the first time will include funds for the ILO to help developing countries implement core labor standards and the President called for conclusion of a convention banning abusive child labor. Noting the effect of the financial crisis on American steel communities, companies and workers, the President vowed to continue vigorously enforcing our trade laws and to press major steel trading nations to end unfair trade practices and bear their fair share of the import burden. The President also announced an initiative to help American manufacturers safeguard their gains in foreign markets and expand into new growth areas