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                         THE WHITE HOUSE
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE                           December 21, 1994


Today, we celebrate the beginning of a long-term change for our nation's distressed communities. It is the realization of President Clinton's vision to empower all American communities to enable them to join the mainstream of our regional economies; to forge lasting partnerships among communities, the private sector, and federal, state and local governments; and to restore hope to community residents who have not felt a part of America's future.

Today, the President and I announced that 104 communities will receive $3.5 billion in tax incentives and social service grants through the Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Program. Each of these designated areas submitted competitive strategic plans for economic revitalization that were developed with broad participation of the entire community. As designated zones and communities, they may also compete for additional federal resources of up to $3 billion, plus billions of dollars in private investment.

We expect these funds to spur investment from the private sector within these communities. This approach will enable communities to create new jobs and stimulate the regional economy.

But the changes don't stop there. Across the country, communities who competed for the designation of empowerment zones and enterprise communities have adopted a new, more inclusive way to address redevelopment that will far outlast any tax incentives or social grants. Their community partnerships will be a force for change far into the future. When it comes to revitalizing our communities, everybody plays a part.

And, these communities have taken a holistic approach to revitalization. Sustainable community development takes place only when fragmented development programs coordinate and integrate their services and when the entire community participates and supports a common goal. Job training, private sector investment, coordinated service delivery, creative ideas from government and community organizations, and a plan to build on already existing assets and strengths -- all are necessary to achieve long-term, self-sufficient communities.

Help from the federal government is necessary for success. Working with state and local governments, we will reinvent the way we work by waiving burdensome regulations and unnecessary bureaucracy that stand in the way of community development. We will give communities the tools they need to move forward and the flexibility necessary to make decisions that respond to real local needs. President Clinton and I will continue to work through the Community Enterprise Board to reinvent the relationship between the federal government and local communities of both those that received designations and those that did not. We will provide a broad range of assistance measures to communities across the nation to help them achieve economic revitalization.

We must continue to attack, in a comprehensive way, the urban and rural problems that threaten our communities. The Empowerment Zone and Enterprise Community Program provides the catalytic framework for that change. But, it will take all of us -- working together over a long period of time -- to create jobs; to make our streets safe; to preserve the quality of our air and water; and, to make a commitment to personal, family and civic responsibility a reality. We can -- and we must -- meet this challenge.