THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
THE WHITE HOUSE
Office of the Press Secretary
SOUTHERN REGIONAL ECONOMIC CONFERENCE SESSION IV: INVESTING IN SUSTAINED GROWTH AND JOB CREATION Emory University Atlanta, Georgia
3:20 P.M. EST
THE VICE PRESIDENT: The President has asked me to moderate this fourth panel, and at the conclusion of this panel, I'm going to turn it back to him. And then you'll hear some summary comments, and then we'll call it a day.
This panel is going to be focused on where we go from here, the future, how we can create jobs by working together, how we can emphasize sustainable growth and community empowerment. We'll be talking about the four elements that are critical in sustainable growth -- the people, and, of course, we talked a good deal about human capital in the last panel -- education and job training. We'll be talking about innovation, and there are some high-tech entrepreneurs and businesspeople who will tell us about the importance of innovation in this equation; open markets -- the ability to play on a level field and sell around the world; and investment and in the importance of having access to capital in areas that haven't always in the past had access to capital.
First of all, Mr. President, I want to say that I'm proud to be joined on this panel by four other members of your administration -- Secretary of Commerce Ron Brown and Special Trade Representative Mickey Kantor, both of whom got bragged on quite a bit in the earlier sessions; and SBA Administrator Phil Lader, who's also been bragged on; and Under Secretary of State Joan Spero, and the State Department has been a key player in your team opening up markets overseas. And we think that's awfully important for the South and for the rest of the country.
One of the themes we'll be talking about in this panel, as I mentioned, is community empowerment. And what we mean by that when we use President Clinton's phrase is how we can get all parts of the community working together, singing from the same sheet of music, if you will, to head in the right direction.
One of the problems in the past has often been our tendency to identify problems as having a single cause, and then looking at clusters of problems and setting up different efforts to attack each problem, when actually a community is a living, breathing entity and different parts of the community all fit together. And as Andy Young said this morning, all of the topics we've discussed during this conference today do all fit together. And it does paint a very clear picture. It's amazing how much agreement there is in the country, regardless of what party you're in, regardless of what region of the country you're from. And building that consensus is one good outcome that can come from this discussion.
So to start us off in this panel on the general topic of how we can invest for future prosperity and the importance of community empowerment in that challenge is the mayor of this great city that is hosting us and will host millions of people next year for the Olympics, Mayor Bill Campbell.
MAYOR CAMPBELL: Thank you very much, Mr. Vice President and Mr. President. First of all, I think it's important to recognize that we must continue to invest in human potential. When I say that, I mean that a great deal of urban America is in crisis today.
And Atlanta, while we have the Olympics and while our unemployment rate is very low, we still face great problems with poverty. Atlanta has the highest number of public housing units per capita of any city in this country. And so, we were enormously grateful to be awarded one of the six empowerment zone designations in this country, which is the Clinton administration's outreach to the city.
Everyone must recognize that in this country 80 percent of the people live on 20 percent of the land, and there must be an investment in the human potential. The empowerment zone allows us to try to rebuild what has been destroyed. For everyone in this country, if you ride into the inner cities of this country, you will devastation. You will see hopelessness. You will see poverty that is unimaginable in a city, in a country that has as much prosperity as we do. The reason the empowerment zone is so important is because we recognize that businesses need to make money. It is the sine qua none from which they exist. And what we have tried to do in working with the empowerment zone is to make certain that businesses have the opportunity to make money, but also to reach in and reinvest in human potential.
Within the city of Atlanta, the empowerment zone allows us to try to rebuild. We are trying to target entrepreneurial companies, high-tech companies, and particularly, those in the communications and information services that go into our inner city and try to restructure. We had commitments for $700 million worth of private business investment if we were successful in winning the empowerment zone, and we were. And so we must now go to those companies and try to make them appreciate that they can make money in the inner cities of this country. That is what must be said over and over and over again because many businesses are not seeing that they can invest and make money and do that at the same time within the inner cities.
We are focusing on the Auburn Avenue revitalization. We get over 3 million visitors a year to Auburn Avenue, and, unfortunately, like many other inner cities in this country, we simply do not have the kind of business support that we would like. It is the home of Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Civil Rights Movement. We believe that working with the empowerment zone that we will be able to re-establish business investment in that community.
Under the leadership of Governor Miller, the state of Georgia's BEST program, which is Business Expansion Support, will allow companies locating or expanding in the zone to take advantage of a $2,500 per job tax credit annually for five years. That is a tremendous incentive for companies to invest in the zone -- $2,500 per job. Tax credits are also available for machinery, recycling and primary materials, hauling equipment, day care and worker training. The important thing to note with the empowerment zone is, while it is a $250 million investment, the largest portion of it -- $150 million -- is in tax credit. And that is what must be used to try to re- attract business development into our inner cities.
It is so critical for us to recognize that these are terrible times to be poor. These are terrible times to be old. They are terrible times to be handicapped. And as we look at what is happening in the Congress, particularly as it relates to the city of Atlanta when there is tough talk about crime, the one thing that we recognize is that there is one word that stops crime, and it starts with a "j" and it is not jail. It is jobs.
And so what the Clinton administration has done with the empowerment zone is to try to re-invest in jobs in the inner city. If the rescission cuts go through this year, we will lose 1,500 through our Summer Youth Program. There will be 1,500 jobs next summer that will be lost in our Summer Jobs Program. And so, let me ask, what do we believe that those 1,500 young people will be doing if we do not provide them with employment? We cannot build enough jails to house them all. We do not have enough courts to legislate all of them through. And so, we ask again that this investment within the inner cities continues. There are people that need to be retrained. There are people who are under-employed and under- educated.
The one thing that we know -- and I will close with this -- is that if we give people the opportunity, they will seize that and they will work. The old adage, if you give a man a fish, he will eat for a day; if you teach him to fish, he will eat for a lifetime -- that is what the empowerment zone means for us.
And so, to the President and the Vice President, we say, we thank you for this opportunity of investing in the human potential because there is no way that people in this country can run from the problems of urban America. You cannot move far enough away from the city. You cannot buy enough security systems. You cannot put enough gates around where you live because eventually the problems of urban America will confront us all. And so, why not spend the money wisely and invest and try to teach our young people that there is a different way, that you can employ yourselves to do different things, that you can try to do something different.
And so, for that reason, we believe that for us, in Atlanta, the empowerment zone will be the Olympics for those who live in the inner city because it will continue far beyond the magnificent time of the games in 1996 because it will provide jobs and hope. The one thing that we know is that if the wisdom of tomorrow is learned by the violence of today, will there be a tomorrow? Let us invest in the human potential, and we believe, then, those dollars will be better spent on the front-end rather than on incarceration at the back-end.
Thank you very much. (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mayor, for getting us off to a good start. The second of our four opening presentations for this panel is going to be from David Crockett, who is a city councilman in Chattanooga, my fellow Tennessean. And the common denominator is that, just as with community empowerment, we focus on the way all the elements of the problem fit together and the solutions have to fit together also.
Economic development also has to fit within the environment. And David and his colleague in Chattanooga have played a pioneering role in bringing the business community and citizens groups together to really redefine the whole course of Chattanooga. Of course, Chattanooga and Atlanta have been partners for a long time. And, David, please go ahead.
MR. CROCKETT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President, members of the Cabinet. I appreciate the opportunity for Chattanooga to be here and for cities, which I think are -- I agree with Mayor Campbell -- are the prime focal point for addressing most of the problems and the opportunities of the nation.
To spin off of what Mayor Jackson said just for a second, he said, is it good for Atlanta or is it good for America? I would say that sustainability would ask the question, is it good for America today, for this generation, and is it good for America in the next generation and the generation after that?
And to make that point a little bit, let me tell just a bit about our city's history and our present and our future. We're located between mountains with a beautiful river running through our city. We were an early industrial center in the South. We became one of the largest industrial centers in the country, despite the fact we've never had a real large population.
Pictures of Chattanooga of the late 1800s were full of smokestacks which were the symbol, the icon of prosperity for that time. But over a course of time, cheap coal and heavy industry and those mountains, in the 40s and 50s, we almost lost sight of the mountains. In fact, many days you could not see them. And you couldn't find the river. And our environment and our economy suffered simultaneously.
By 1970, HEW said we were one of the most polluted cities in America. And we went through a lot of the social and urban and economic pains of the 70s with most American cities. We had kind of a heart attack, and we needed a quadruple bypass -- ecologically, environmentally, socially and from an urban standpoint. Through a very massive effort with the community -- and it wasn't for good works, it was for survival -- with our private sector as much in the lead as anybody, our industries making heavy investments, our Chamber of Commerce, our community groups -- we cleaned up our air. We started private-public partnerships that created one of the best affordable housing programs in the country.
We started to renew our urban core, and we turned ourself around to the point where, from those remarks of HEW in 1970, when the President's Council on Sustainable Development visited in 1995, Vice President Gore and the President's Council, they found a Chattanooga that you could see the mountains, that was off all EPA non-attainment list and had been for years. Its river walks -- its river which was accessible and its river walks were a model for the National Park Service, and its downtown was being restored. And you could sit on the banks of the Tennessee River next to the world's largest freshwater aquarium and watch a town that had been devoid of people, streaming with people any day or hour.
Now, what is significant about that is that -- and we didn't, frankly, comprehend the impact of it at the time. Those river walks, 20 miles or so, reconnected our entire population, not just to their natural element, but to their city, and one step further with each other, Mayor Campbell. From all over parts of the city, it has been the greatest mixer of our population. We didn't view the significance of what a walkway, restoring an old bridge, the Walnut Street Bridge that was going to be condemned, would have on our economy, pulling our community together, revitalizing the core city. So that's where, I guess, Chattanooga present is.
Chattanooga future speaks to economic development because our problems are the same as everybody's -- family-wage jobs for everybody, keeping our kids at home with good jobs, a better education system, community revival and pulling us all together toward a common goal. Our theme for that is the environment, is sustainability -- not only as a boundary condition, but as a means to accomplishing every one of those goals -- of providing the jobs, providing the good jobs, family-wage jobs; of enhancing our education system, not just snapping a course on to it.
If you step out of the Tennessee Aquarium today, two things are there. One of them is the old smokestack from one of the schools. It's about 150 feet high, and we've kept just the smokestack because it's a part of our heritage. It's also a reminder that there probably was an economic summit like this one about the time that that was prosperity, and this generation had to go back and fix and repair that prosperity.
The second one is that we are entering an age that we believe is -- it will be based on manufacturing, and we will not leave that. And those are jobs built out of sustainable -- the emphasis of sustainability. And that is the economic thrust of our city -- will still be to make our industries viable and to get the new industries of the future that will be created out of environment and sustainability emphasis. You step off one step and you're on a battery-powered bus, and by next year, it'll be the largest fleet in the nation. We make them there. It also keeps our air clean.
And if you took a ride to the next end of the town, the Southside, our newest project, you'd find a dilapidated area of old industry that's about to come to life and will be our future because in that zone will be not only a conference center and a trade center, it will be designed different than anything we've ever done. And this is sustainability, is about thinking about things in a different way. It will convert from a concrete jungle to an urban forest. It will be a conference center. It will be especially designed, but there will be a manufacturing zone there. There will be housing. It will be pedestrian. As someone said, the long-run strategy for this district and for our downtown is a short walk. It will be a place where you live, where you work.
And it will be possible because we have some companies -- some of the Georgia companies, Governor -- that we're working with, are willing to try to find something called zero emissions. Also, some major Fortune 500 companies -- DuPont and others. And they will build new jobs in a new way, and they will be sustainable. Collins and Aikman from Dalton makes a carpet that's reformulated to be healthier. But it's also formulated, and their process with a 1- 800 number that says, send it back to us, and we'll convert it into another product. It won't go into landfill. They are one of the companies we are working with. A soap company -- has zero emissions. We'll have a total thrust of that.
And as a regional hub, we're right between Oak Ridge, TVA and the NASA labs. We will try to develop new technologies of the future to make our current industries viable and to create the brand-new industries that will be export and will give us an economic advantage. And we will do that in a way that won't take two steps backward from one step forward on economic growth. So we'll build from this step in a sustainable fashion.
THE VICE PRESIDENT. Thank you very much, David. I can't tell you how proud it made me as a Tennessean when I represented President Clinton last year on a trip to Bolivia. And one of the people there asked through the interpreter, you're Tennessee; tell us how Chattanooga did it. Do you think we could clean up our air pollution and pollution problems the same way? And we put them in touch with you, and I hope you can sell some products there, also.
Our third presenter is Jeanette Golden. In keeping with the theme of how we work in partnership to create the kind of future that we want, it's important to focus on how, in a public-private partnership, the government relates to small business. And small businesses that use technology are increasingly prominent in the creation of new jobs. And Jeanette Golden is going to tell us a little bit about what we need to know.
MS. GOLDEN: I think the biggest thing with the whole technology phase is giving people an opportunity. And having an opportunity -- I was fortunate in that I took advantage of everything the SBA could possibly offer. I went to SBA seminars. I went up to SBA so many times that people thought I worked there, but I was there. (Laughter.) I was able to call on the phone and ask questions that I thought were stupid questions, but nobody knew it was me asking so I kept on asking. In doing so, I was able to put together a business plan that's going to help me live my dream. And that's to put technology in the classroom, make sure it's leading- edge, breathing-edge technology, not something from two through four years ago so the kids will be learning on things that are current, something that will help them in their jobs and their futures.
SBA -- when I first started writing, I wrote this business plan -- it took me probably a year. And I wrote and I wrote, and I read and read, but there was one piece that I was afraid of, and I'll admit it. That was the SBA paperwork because I could not grasp the finances the way they do them. I knew my business inside and out, but I could not put them on that form. So I was fortunate. I found a bank, and by the time I had the courage to go to the bank, SBA had a one-page form. I found a banker at Wachovia Bank who was willing to work with me. And when he said I had one form and I could explain finances, I mean, I knew the loan was mine. And I worked with SBA, and within two weeks, my loan was approved. There were no major questions because I had detail up the wazoo, and I was presenting an idea on high-tech and classroom which I believed. And I wanted to thank them for that.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, that's great. Thank you. They call that one-page form the "low doc." And I saw Phil Lader grinning from ear to ear when you were talking about the new form arriving -- and the old one was about an inch thick. And people got pretty frustrated with it. And Erskine Bowles, who is around here, was at the SBA when that low-doc was brought in. So, congratulations to you. That's part of our re-inventing government approach, and the SBA has been a real leader on that.
Our fourth opening presenter before we go to our discussion with the panel is on the importance of innovation in order to meet competition in global markets. And I'm pleased to introduce Ernie Deavenport, Chairman and CEO of Eastman Chemical.
MR. DEAVENPORT: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President. It's indeed a pleasure. I'm delighted to be here to talk about global business success and some of the things that we think in our company has caused us to have that success.
Eastman Chemical Company has had a very long successful history in the Southeast region with our headquarters in upper-east Tennessee. I know it kind of looks like you maybe you might have loaded this panel with Tennesseans today. Eastman Chemical Company began operations some 75 years ago in northeast Tennessee, and I'm happy to say, with lots of companies that have had to restructure lately, it's been over 50 years since we've had a major involuntary restructuring in our company.
During those 75 years we grew, basically, from a oneproduct company that sold -- basically, the one company, the Eastman Kodak company to a company that makes hundreds of products, and we sell those to literally thousands of people all over the world today in 48 different countries. We has sales last year of $4.3 billion, and about one-third of that $4.3 billion were outside of the U.S. with over 80 percent of those being exports. So we are a major exporter for this country.
I think there are lots of factors that affected a company's ability to compete today in a global environment. But let me just concentrate on two of them very quickly. First of all, it all begins, I believe with quality. And quality begins with a passion to satisfy your customers. Customer satisfaction is a prerequisite to success in business today anywhere in the world -- and I say, anywhere in the world. There is simply, in my opinion, no substitution for an organization's global dedication to quality and customer satisfaction.
Mr. President, when you presented Eastman Chemical Company the Malcolm Baldridge National Quality Award back in 1993, I stated in my acceptance of that, that we didn't seek that award for the recognition. We did it to win customers, and we certainly did.
I think today, with limited resources, the private sector today and also the governmental sector -- I think we must use quality management practices to take the limited resources that we have and make sure that we apply those to the most pressing problems and that we create value with those rather than consume value. Too many times today, industry and government, too, I believe, actually utilizes our resources to consume value rather than creating.
The second factor -- and we've talked a lot about it today already -- affecting success is people, and, more importantly, the way that those people interact within an organizational structure whether it be a governmental structure or whether it be private industry. It is certainly no secret that highly-skilled and highly- educated people provide our very best opportunities to achieve a very unique and a sustainable competitive advantage in a very competitive global environment.
I believe that empowerment and teamwork in our private enterprise today, and in government, provides the keys to unleashing the tremendous potential that exists in the minds of people, no matter what language they speak or where they might come from.
Let me address the President's initial question when we started this morning: What should federal government do to support companies in this region of the world and companies in this country being competitive on a global basis? I think if we could boil it down to one, I would have liked to have served on the education panel because I believe that the root of all of it is education.
But let me talk just about three others very briefly. First of all, continue to pursue fair and equal trading rules. Let me say that I applaud the administration and I applaud Secretary Brown for the work that has been done in terms of promoting free trade. NAFTA, GATT, all of these things that you have done clearly put us in a much better position today than we were several years ago.
The chemical industry that I represent, obviously, is one of the industries that had a net favorable balance of trade of over $20 billion in 1994. We are a major exporter from this country and a major contributor to a favorable balance of trade. But I believe we must continue to defend the pressures that we get from all around the world to build new tariff and non-tariff barrier that are aimed at U.S. exports.
The second area that I believe that we can continue in, and that is to pursue greater cost-efficiency in our regulatory programs. And both you, Mr. Vice President and Mr. President, had indicated your support of that because the private sector cost today for implementing many of our regulations places a very heavy burden on U.S. industry. We have in the past reaped tremendous benefits from many of these programs. But I believe as we come down to getting the last of this, in some cases, many of these have become inefficient and they have become somewhat wasteful. So we need to use just good common sense in making sure that our regulatory policies, demanding the use of our limited resources, use good science and good economics in our regulatory decisions.
And then, lastly, let me say that we should continue to expand federal incentives for global investment in sales. Many other countries in the world today employ such practices as adjustable taxes. They employ lower capital gains taxes, special treatment on foreign-source income to stimulate investment. I believe we should study these and look at these with an eye on maintaining our own competitive position, not only in our domestic industry, but also foreign investors who are interested in investing in the U.S.
Thank you very much for this opportunity.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Mr. Davenport. I can assure you that under President Clinton's direction, we are certainly taking to heart the desires of many in business and all over the country to innovate in the federal government, and regulatory common sense. We're making great progress on that. And with the re-inventing government project, we're creating a government that works better and costs less.
In our first panel discussion, I want to return to the community empowerment theme. And we heard from Mayor Campbell. But earlier the President pointed out that there are 104 community empowerment zones and enterprise communities around the country --six urban zones; three rural zones; and then a large number of smaller enterprise communities, both urban and rural. And what we're trying to accomplish with that approach is to focus special attention on areas of the country, both in urban and impoverished rural areas, in sectors of the economy that, in the past, had been left behind when the national economy had gone up. And we're trying to learn what works.
And I want to call on two people, Harry Bowie, who is President of the Delta Foundation and has been very active in the Mississippi Delta area; and Larry Stein, who's President and Director of the Center for Rural Studies, and ask both of them to briefly talk about what we can do in this region of our country that has more rural poverty than any other part of America.
Harry, and then Larry.
MR. BOWIE: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President, and other members of the Cabinet. I want to talk a little bit about the rural areas that we face in Mississippi and in Arkansas. These are areas that, similar to a question you asked earlier, were left out. They had not progressed with the dynamic growth of the rest of the South. We have small towns that were dependent upon agriculture, and fact, agriculture has mechanized and no longer is there a need for the people who live in these towns. The infrastructure has basically been wiped out. They need all kinds of change.
And it's around this that we built an empowerment zone in the mid-Delta, but also worked with several other communities. And, in fact, there is one empowerment zone, there are two enterprise communities, and there are 18 champion communities in Mississippi. And we've tried to get as many to apply as possible to begin solving the problems of depressed communities -- poorly-trained workforce, inadequate capital base, inadequate infrastructure. And your empowerment zone concept, I think, was internalized by our group in a very special way because many of us have been involved in trying to solve problems or deal with problems of poverty.
And I think the way we approached it before is, we were servicing poverty. We were putting -- there. We were merely rating it, making it not quite so harsh. And we've taken on the challenge of trying to eradicate aspects of poverty. If it's housing, no longer to have bad housing. To make a total change, but to do it with the community being in charge, empowering itself. I might point out that in our particular one, I think we matched the $40 million almost 4 to 1 in terms of community buy-in.
I was with the State of Mississippi officials early last week, and, with the state, was buying into the process and talking about how we could get the jobs, how we could be flexible in using the training programs that exist, to go in and have a flexible response to an industry coming in and having a workforce that becomes trained and becomes able to be globally competitive with the states, the community, industrialists, all of them being involved.
One of the things -- and I'm trying to go quickly --that was important to our process is we did somehow achieve something that was very important. We had the breath of the community involved. We had welfare workers and we had bankers sitting in the same meeting. We had industrialists and we had city officials. We had the whole of the community talking about what they could do to create new opportunities.
I want to make a very important point: As we brought people together, it could not have happened in a vacuum, could not have happened if a couple of programs that existed before and that are now targeted for being destroyed -- affirmative action programs that created a competent workplace and leadership from the minority community to sit down in partnership with the larger, white community; section 5 of the Voting Rights Act which brought elected officials to the table, black and white, so that the whole community was represented in a very important way in this process. Very important things.
There is a problem, though. And I'm going to point it out real quickly. The tax credits have an urban bias. It needs a minor, narrow adjustment to make them as effective for rural areas as possible, and that's something we're going to be talking with the administration about. In fact, some people were out talking with folks in the Ag Department. But there is a minor urban bias in that that needs to be corrected.
Lastly, what I want to say is that we can, in rural Mississippi, with all the problems we have, create an oasis of change and development in the small, poor towns if we're willing to use holistically all the tools of government and private sector to create jobs that are competitive, and train the work force, deal with education, deal with crime and all these things that are there.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Larry Stein, Director of the Center for Rural Studies.
MR. STEIN: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President. I want to identify, especially, with that last point about unifying all of those sources. I think it's fairly clear that even though the current expansion had been remarkably robust -- a lot more robust than a lot of people have cared to notice -- in this part of the country, in the South, it has largely been an urban phenomenon.
And rural communities, I think, are very much at a crossroads right now. A lot of the forces that are creating the overall global economy could work to the great advantage for rural communities, or it could work to the great disadvantage of rural communities. The old formula for economic growth with low wages and low taxes, we attempted to capitalize on what in any view is a set of deficiencies. The result of that was low skills and inadequate schools that tended to perpetuate low skills -- more or less, a death cycle, in my own judgment.
I think the policies of this administration have been directed exactly where they ought to be in that regard. We're trying generate local initiatives, local energies, local resources and convert those into enterprise. Going out and seeking smokestacks, going and attempting to draw industrialization based on low wages is simply not going to work. Those jobs are going to be lost offshore.
So we, too, are associated with a rural empowerment zone. It's precisely the right kind of approach. I think it needs to be multiplied. I'd make one other point. That old formula is based on a kind of poverty model for rural America. There are great opportunities out there. There are tremendous opportunities in rural America. There are things that are going on that are terrifically exciting in areas that you simply wouldn't expect, and largely, the result of telecommunication. And the telecommunication superhighway that the Vice President had so much to do with setting up. I really think that continued investment in those high-tech areas is absolutely crucial, and the things in the current rescission bill is not too -- doesn't give one grounds for optimism in that regard.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Larry. I wanted to make a brief note of the fact that one of the things we learned on the President's Community Empowerment Board in this program is something that both you and Harry talked about. If a community will put all of its own assets on the table and everybody will agree to work toward the common goal -- not just servicing poverty, as you said Harry, but really trying to eliminate it -- then the assets in the community already dwarf what the federal government can put in there.
And, Ernie, I'd like to say that we modeled this after the Malcolm Baldridge Award process that you referred to because we've heard for years how many companies went through that process, and went down the checklist of all the things that they needed to do to be world-class in order to win the award, and then when they got through with the list, it didn't matter if they won the award or not because they had transformed themselves. And we've heard from hundreds of communities around the nation that the process of competing for this community empowerment designation has led them to a similar set of lessons.
The next topic that I'd like to open up involves access to capital. And again, in keeping with the theme of partnerships to build for the future, what we've found so often in the South and in other parts of the country is that some of the communities that have been left behind with talented entrepreneurs that don't necessarily get access to government financing have deposits that come from the community that they have trouble getting reinvested in the community.
And I'm going to call on Reggie White, again, from Tennessee, from Knoxville, and then from Julia Vindasius who is Founder and Executive Director of the Good Faith Fund which is a microenterprise fund making small loans to entrepreneurs in southeast Arkansas.
Now, some of you all know Reggie White best as the alltime sack leader when he was defensive lineman for the Green Bay Packers. In Tennessee, we know him as somebody who works full-time to develop the community, an ordained minister, and the founder of the Knoxville Community Development Bank.
MR. WHITE: Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President. It is an honor to be here. I also want to thank Secretary Henry Cisneros who's given us a lot of help. And, you know, I play in front of thousands of people every day, and I don't know why I'm nervous right now. (Laughter.) I'll get over it here in a minute.
I'm excited about what's going on in Knoxville. Some of the things that led us to get involved in the Community Development Bank were some of the things that I've seen in the inner cities. I think most of us -- I've been out -- I'm from Chattanooga. I've been out of the community for about 15 years now. And I think as much as we know what's going on in these communities, we don't -- until you go to a community and sit down and talk with some of these people that are living in these communities. We had the opportunity to build our bank around the community, going into the community and seeing what the people wanted because we didn't want them to think that we were coming in there trying to take anything from them.
And understanding also, being a minister, you can tell a person until they're blue in the face that they need Jesus, and if they are homeless, if they are making $2,000 or $4,000 a week in drugs, if they are young ladies who are pregnant, they are not listening to you because they're going to look at you and say, well, Reggie, what has Jesus done for me lately? And people do not understand that Jesus' first proclamation was a proclamation to the poor, that he came to present the gospel to the poor. He made an economic proclamation.
And I think, in some ways, that the church more than anything has failed to communities. With as much money that's coming through the church, for us to have re-invested that in the communities and become partners with as many people as possible so that we could change the lives of people.
I'm very excited about the Community Development Bank we've established in Knoxville which is a non-depository bank. And the money that we've put up is -- the money that I've put up and my pastor, Jerry Upton, we've put up in money and assets. We made in excess of about $400,000. But we need partners. Everybody looks at me when I go in the community and says, Reggie, why are you making a whole bunch of money? Why don't you change the community? I can't do that. I can't change a whole city. I don't have enough money to change a whole city.
It's frustrating, over the last couple of years, to go in some areas and just sit down and meet with people who just want to talk. And to be honest with you, I'm tired of talking. There's too many people dying in these communities to just sit around and talk about what needs to be done. Something needs to be done. I would hope and pray that our country does not declare war on the poor. A guy told me one time as we were sitting down talking about the plight of the black community and the things that are happening and the devastation that's going on in the black community --he told me something interesting. He said, Reggie, this is not a black problem; this is an American problem. And America has to get involved with people who are hurting. We have to take care of poor people. That's what they did in the Bible in the Book of Acts. When the people came together, they made sure the poor in the group was taken care of. They even sold their possessions to make sure those people in the group was taken care of.
Our bank here, as I mentioned, we've made about $400,000 in loans. We've made some housing loans with mothers who live in the projects -- all of their lives -- who are on welfare, was able to be transactioned out of these homes, out of the projects into brand-new homes. And to see how these people appreciate a new home is something -- it's a sight to see, something that they never had before. They were able to come to an institution that would give them a chance.
And, no, we don't reject people. We have an entrepreneur school. If they have problems with home buying or getting a mortgage, we bring them and ask them to come to the entrepreneur school and we teach credit budgeting, credit training education, individual accounting seminars, business training, home buyer's information, and self-help programs.
We made about 14 business loans for people who didn't have an opportunity to get loans from banks, that were able to get opportunities to get a loan from my bank and to start business which is creating jobs in the community. and we realize, too, as a church, that we have to invest in the community. We build businesses so that the money comes through the church so that we can give the people in the church jobs. We feel like if they are going to take care of the ministers of the church, the ministers had sure better make sure that the people are taken care of. So that's something that we are excited about.
We've also made consumer loans. We made in excess of 40 loans into the community. But we understand that we need the government's help also. And I would hope that the bill to rescind the $125 million will not be taken away because this is something that we've depended on. This is something that we've worked with the President, the Vice President, the Secretary on. And this is something that we are very excited about.
Not only that, we have athletes that we met with and entertainers that we met with that have said, well, Reggie, we're committed to making this work. We have a meeting here in Atlanta next month. We're going to meet with Mayor Campbell about establishing a community development bank here also.
And, if I could, quickly, I would like to ask Lee Jenkins to give a little more testimony of what we're trying to do as a group to make sure that we are able to invest our money and also to get partnership from the government and corporations to be able to have an impact because this has a lot of potential to it.
MR. JENKINS: Mr. Vice President, Mr. President and Mayor Campbell, it's an honor to be here. And it's an honor to be Reggie White's friend because, as you all can tell, he's more than just a great football player, he's a great person who has an awesome and a vision for the city and for this nation.
I would just like to reiterate some of the things Reggie has talked about One of the ways the Community Development Bank can really impact society economically is it can create jobs, it can create an opportunity for entrepreneurs to start businesses. And when you start businesses, you create jobs. When you create jobs, there's money flowing in the community.
As Reggie said, some of the athletes and entertainers around the nation, many of them you've heard of -- Herschel Walker, rap star Hammer, and some other people -- have gotten together and have dedicated themselves to one another and to this project of investing their own personal funds into community development banks. But as Reggie said, a few people, even though they may make a lot of money, that's still not enough. We need a partner. And we need to partner with the government, we need to partner with the private sector in order to make this work because the problem is a vast problem and it is going to take money.
And, as Mayor Campbell said when he started the talk, the biggest investment we're making is really in people. It's not -- the Community Development Bank is just a vehicle, but the big investment is really in people. So I would hope, just as Reggie hopes, that the $125 million that is allocated for the Community Development Bank will not be rescinded. Thank you.
MR. WHITE: Mr. Vice President, a lot of guys are ready to invest their money in the community. To be honest with you, we are tired of giving our money away. We want it to be invested in a way that it can impact people because we don't want to go broke. We've got families, also. And we feel that we pay enough money in taxes, and we just want to begin to see some of our money, along with the money that we're putting in the community, to go back in.
THE PRESIDENT: I just want to interject here. I was going to wait until after the next speaker talked because she runs a program that I helped to set up like this when I was governor.
I said something earlier today that the community colleges might be the most important institutions in the country because they were taking care of the educational things. The first speaker we had on the first panel, Larry Farmer, was talking about how there weren't enough institutions in the poor areas of the country to bring opportunity.
These things are -- this stuff can revolutionize poor people in America and bring them into the mainstream of economic life, whether they're in cities or rural areas. And we have 350 community development financial institutions in America today. Our bill, which has $500 million in it over a period of years, but $124 million in this first year that is about to be eliminated if this rescission package goes through, will leverage billions and billions of dollars in free enterprise, private sector money that will, in turn, be given in loans to people who have a good chance of paying them back. Every one of these institutions has got a repayment rate that is on average as good as commercial banks. We've got Bank of America wanting to put $50 million in this, NationsBank wanting to put $25 million in this.
And the model of this whole thing -- I was thinking about it today because my wife, as you know, is on a trip to Asia with our daughter, and they're going to Bangladesh. The most successful model in the world is the Grameen Bank in Bangladesh where they've made almost a million loans, I think, now. And they have a repayment rate above 96 percent -- to poor village women at market interest rates.
This is a huge deal that has gotten no national attention yet, but this is an institution like community colleges that can revolutionize America if we see it through. And I want to give Jimmy a chance to talk about what they've done, but I want to thank you. And I want to tell you that your friends shouldn't give their money away anymore to something that won't work. They ought to put it into some institutionalized system that will have a return for people. And I applaud you, and I thank you for coming here today.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Let me add a comment that the legislation that President Clinton proposed to establish this community development bank network around the country passed last year, a year and a half ago, in the House 420 to 12. And it passed in the Senate 100 to 0. It had very strong bipartisan support. It's a great success, and yet, all the money for it is proposed to be completely eliminated. And so it would be stopped dead in its tracks unless there is a change on that.
And the other comment I wanted to make, Reggie, is that if I borrowed money from you, I would definitely pay you back. (Laughter and applause.)
Go ahead, Julia.
MS. VINDASIUS: I think that most of what's been said about community development banks and micro-loan trends have -- you know, everything that's important at this point has really been said. But CDFI bill is really critical. The CDFI field has emerged over the years almost entirely with private sector money. I'd like to invite some sports stars to come on down to Arkansas because you'd have a partner there. We definitely need more private sector support.
But the promise of federal support through CDFI legislation really raised the hopes of many of my colleagues around the country who run micro-loan funds like myself, community development loan funds, community development credit unions and community development banks because the $124, $125 million dollars, would have the ability to leverage far greater amounts of money from the private sector, and it would truly be a partnership to try to promote community economic development.
I'd like to just say a word about the sort of defining feature of a community development bank. Our community development bank is a depository institution, the Elkhorn Bank & Trust in Arkadelphia, Arkansas, about $95 million in assets. And it's coupled with a non-profit organization that can try to deepen and strengthen the kinds of the development activities that a bank alone can't do. The bank uses all of the credit enhancements that it possibly can to try to do development lending -- SBA guarantee programs and any other enhancement programs that the state provides. The non-profit organization has a range of loan funds and training programs and other kinds of development initiatives to try to strengthen what we're doing in the community.
The other defining feature is that the overarching mission of a community development bank is long-term, sustainable economic development and growth -- not short-term profit. There are lots of community banks, but the distinguishing feature of a community development bank is that they target a distressed neighborhood or region, in our case in rural Arkansas, to try to promote long-term economic growth and development.
Southern Development Bank Corporation, which is our holding company, since 1988 has made $37.5 million in development loans and investments in the region; $34 million of that has been to small businesses; 168 of those new businesses are minority-owned businesses. The additional investment was in the rehab of commercial properties in distressed downtown areas and about 60 units of low- income housing.
One of the non-profit programs is a micro-enterprise program which is the program that I started and currently run called the Good Faith Fund. And as President Clinton mentioned, we're the first replication of the Grameen Bank in the United States. It was really to the credit of a few people who had the vision to see that an international model could really work in our country and in Arkansas as an opportunity to give credit to people who would definitely not normally have access to credit.
At Good Faith Fund, we've made about $700,000 in loans. Our average loan size for our small loan program is about $1,700. We make loans to people who have home-based businesses, very small retail and goods-and-services businesses. We also have a program to assist welfare recipients in learning to become self-employed and working themselves off welfare as a result of their self-employment training and credit.
And earlier panels are much more articulate about all of the things that we need to do to improve the welfare system, but community development banks have the opportunity to experiment and push the edges of some of the development activities in communities using the market and using the knowledge that we have that the market can bear. Thanks.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. That's an inspiring story. I'd like to now return to the theme of partnering with small business where most of the new jobs are created. And I'd like to call first on Donald Hayes, President and Founder of MicroFab Technologies in Texas; and then, Jean Griswold who is the Founder of Metrolina Outreach Mammography in Charlotte. And I'd like to hear from both of you about what we can do to help small business.
MR. HAYES: MicroFab is a small R&D company, and for the last eight years, we've been developing some technology that has a wide range of applications in a lot of industries. And one of the ones that we are focusing on right now the most is technology that can help electronic manufacturers. So our technology would end up in their equipment.
One of the problems is that not only do we have to do the R&D development of our technology, but they have to do R&D to help implement through technology in their processes, their manufacturing processes. So we tried to put a consortium of these companies together, and we had a lot of big companies very interested. We tried to get the companies to come together with us, and we were going to apply for one of the Department of Commerce Advanced Technology Program Awards. And we kept trying to get them together, and we had a very difficult time. So we decided at the last minute -- after trying that, I guess, for almost a year -- at the last minute, we decided to apply for the award as a single company.
And we won the award, and within three months after getting the award, we had the consortium together. And these companies now are teaming with us to try to really implement the technology. What happens is,these big companies look at the risk versus the reward. And what the ATPA gave us is it reduced the risk. They were risking less money. And also, it made us look like a bigger company, which always helps. So, it really gave us an edge. And it was very positive.
One of the things that we're real pleased about with the Advanced Technology Program is that the program is administered very competently and very fair. And it's as good for a small company as it is for a large company. And, in a sense, the playing field is level. And so, with that kind of level playing field, we have a good chance, we feel like, with our technology we can compete with almost anybody. So it's really helped us a lot.
I guess the other thing is, when I come to a meeting like this, and you get all these inputs from all these different people, by this time in the afternoon, my brain hurts. (Laughter.) Because you try to tie it together and weave some -- and obviously, the educational theme was weaved through this program.
But I guess I just wanted to make one other comment. I was taking some notes through the day, and Hugh McColl, you know, he talked about eliminating regulations that really didn't help anything, and that would give us a level playing field. And then he said, throw up the ball and then we'd start to play. Pete Kittrell said the same thing. He said, you know, he wanted a level playing field. Jerry Newby who was over there talking about the farmer said the American farmers could compete as well as anybody in the world if you'd give them a level playing field. You allow them to play and compete with these other people.
I think I heard the same thing from the people in the rural areas in the minority businesses. They want that level playing field. But by this time of the day, I think I even heard that little three-year-old child who drew that picture of his mother say his playing field wasn't level, and he wanted that, too. So I think there's a theme there that's running through this whole conference that may be something worth going after.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Jean.
MS. GRISWOLD: Thank you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, and my special thanks to SBA for allowing me the opportunity to be here.
When researchers are able to pinpoint the bio-markers to an able prevention, the rules that govern breast cancer today will change. However, for now, education and early detection are the only weapons women have in the fight against this disease.
Accessibility plays a key point in persuading women to comply with recommendations for mammography screening. The first time we visit a site with our mobile facility, an average of 75 percent of the women we see are first-time mammograms. Many of these women choose to participate in work-site screening because their employers allow us to educate them on a site about the importance of breast self-examination, annual clinical exams, and screening mammography.
We know that if we can properly deliver the message and women begin to avail themselves of these three simple tools, we can reduce the death rate from breast cancer across this nation by as much as 50 percent. Mainstreaming women into becoming pro-active in their own wellness programs needs to be emphasized throughout this country.
Thanks to an SBA loan, and thanks to Hugh McColl's NationsBank, Charlotte SBIC First Loan, I exist. Entrepreneuriallyowned facilities such as mine, working in partnership with traditional community hospital-based facilities can impact directly and emphatically on this country's economic bottom line. It matters not if a breast cancer is detected early in a woman whose insurance provider covers the cost, or if it is found in an indigent for whom taxpayer dollars are directly used to foot the bill. The bottom line is millions of dollars and thousands of lives saved annually. A win- sin situation for all involved -- the woman, her family, her employer, her community, the region, the nation.
I urge you, Mr. President, to focus on rural health care which is targeted for de-funding. Unacessiblity issues on teleradiology and on devising innovative ways to reach out to women and to their families for truly comprehensive health care, reach out to them on their own turfs. We can change the face of America in the fight against many diseases if we can have support from the top. That's you, gentlemen -- right on down to the grass-roots level on which we everyday people live and work. Thank you.
MR. VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much, Jean. Now, you obviously feel very passionately about this, and you're devoting your full time to it. You created a small business to make it possible for you to deliver this service. But one of the key ingredients was a small business loan, correct? Why did you turn to the SBA? Why couldn't you raise the money some other way?
MS. GRISWOLD: No one thought I could do this. When I went to the traditional banks, I was not a good risk. I was not a loan they wanted to make. It took -- actually, the CDC was the first person in the SBA loop that had an entity who believes in what I saw as a vision out there. And although the 5-A program was not good, they brought me into the SBA proper and a 7-A loan which is 85 percent guaranteed. So the risk factor on the banking institution was minimized.
And then when that initial capitalization was not enough, they sent me through to the point where I could hold my own. NationsBank stepped in with literally the first SBIC loan given in Charlotte. And I feel very fortunate that between SBA and SBIC, I'm here. And there are thousands of women that we serve annually now in education and in mammography screening.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Well, very good. Thank you. I want to return briefly to the theme of innovation and competition. Bernard McPheely is General Manger of Hartness International. And could you tell us a little bit about your experience? And I want to remind everyone, incidentally, to please pay attention to the lights, the green and red lights, and they're timed to two and a half minutes in this part of our discussion. We're running a little bit behind, and we want to finish pretty close to the finishing hour. Go ahead.
MR. MCPHEELY: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President. Hartness International Packaging Machinery Manufacturing in Greenville, South, Carolina -- we have 200 people. We export to 80 countries and do business in each state in the United States. We are small business manufacturer, and small business manufacturers are getting their butts kicked right now. The rules have changed, and I haven't heard much in the media discussing what are the real reasons it's difficult for small business right now.
What we must address and realize is that small businesses are where the jobs are coming from. Job creation is coming from small business. Fortune 500 companies employ less than four percent of the U.S. workforce, and that's getting less each year. We have global customers that are looking for turnkey solutions or total solutions.
The downsizing of corporate America and multi-nationals worldwide is having a drastic effect on small businesses. A participant just mentioned something at the last session that was so important. It was terrible for that man to lose his job in Arkansas. But what the additional impact is, is that's the guy that used to order the goods from the small businesses. He's not there anymore. They've downsized to the point that they have to go to the total solutions. Small businesses can't provide that.
Our foreign competitors have merged and formed megacompanies, and those mergers are more suited to be enabled to provide the turnkey solutions. You have the Japanese trading companies. The Italian trade associations represent large groups of manufacturers very efficiently. In Germany, you have huge mega-mergers that have taken place where competitors that we're competing against are billion-dollar companies.
To give you an example, in Latin America, we were lucky to get an order for a machine with an American multi-national that went in; it ran perfectly. Our German competitor ran very poorly. There's an order for $100 million worth of equipment that should have gone to American manufacturers. Our area would have been $2 million of it; our German competitor cornered $3 million. We had the best machine, running the most efficiently, demanded by the customers in the plant. We got none of that business. We were shut out because we couldn't provide that total solution.
There is a solution for us, though. And what we have to do is, we have to figure out if small businesses in working with the government how we are going to be able to join together and make it available so small companies can produce, can put these turnkey solutions together. And it won't take grants, and it won't take any tax dollars, and we don't need that.
What we need -- our group has set up a consortium of seven companies where we're acting as a big company. We are looking like we are one to our customers overseas. And those European competitors are coming in this country, so we have to do it in this country, also.
I have several solutions, several recommendations. One, we've got to relax the antitrust. The antitrust makes it very difficult for us to talk to one of our competitors who may need to be a partner to us in order to secure some business.
We also need to continue -- and I'd like to ask the Secretary of Commerce to be a salesperson for American businesses where we can call some of these multinational companies and have a sales promotion where we're talking about the benefits. I think Secretary Brown needs to continue the trade missions like he's been on. I was lucky enough to attend the Russian trade mission. It's the most effective thing since my old Commerce days that I've seen that the government has done.
We need to work with Commerce -- and I suggest you take our group that's formed this consortium and use us as a model. We would like to work with the government to show how we can make this work very effectively. We also have one of the best associations in the world, The Packaging and Machinery Manufacturers Institute. And if we can do what the Italians do with theirs, and let the associations become more active and not worry about preventing us from getting too much bigger or some other one hurt -- we're losing business to the overseas -- right now.
There's no greater chance for job creation than letting small businesses compete for all the business we can possibly get. We're losing billions of dollars throughout the world right now of business we should get right here. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: I'd like to ask Mr. Lader and Secretary Brown to get together and do an analysis of this antitrust issue. I went to Italy in 1987, and I was so impressed.
You know, northern Italy has a higher per capita income than Germany. And one of the reasons is the way that the small businesspeople organize and market together. And I went home and we actually got a consortium of sheet metal workers who started their own small businesses because they'd been laid off of big companies from defense downsizing. Then they started marketing together. But then I got involved in this line of work, and I lost track of what happened. (Laughter.)
I'd like to know -- I'm convinced, though -- I'm convinced -- it could make a huge difference in the United States. And so I would like for you to organize -- you know, give me a paper on whether we need to change the antitrust laws and what else we ought to do. I thank you.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. I'd like to call on Maria Elana Torana. And you know, we've got so many exciting companies here in the South that are seizing these successful opportunities in the growing global marketplace out there. I want Maria to tell her story briefly.
MS. TORANA: Well, I founded my company in 1981 in the middle of the recession with a focus to distribute computer solutions to the international market, mainly focusing on the African market. Everybody thought I was crazy. They said Africans don't need computers, they use smoke signals. (Laughter.) I thought to myself, is there is no market there, whatever is there is going to be mine. So I packed my suitcase and went to Africa. Actually, I visited the smaller countries -- Ghana, Uganda, Kenya, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Nigeria, Cameroon, and so forth.
The company has grown since 1991 to '94 to $11 million in sales. We are debt-free. I did not have a loan from the SBA, unfortunately, because I didn't need one. I was self-financed with a --
I would advise small businesses to look at the international markets if for only at least one reason -- an increased cash flow. In the international markets, the customers are used to prepaying for their goods. So the prepayment finances my inventory. The dollar is weak. Today, the dollar is lower than it has been in many, many years. So our products are more competitive overseas.
The American products are still considered top quality. The American professionals are considered top quality. We have reputation overseas that our universities are the best in the world. I am here because I came to this country to go to college. I tell you, I was supposed to go to -- University. I landed there on January 4th, so I never unpacked my suitcase. (Laughter.) I flew back to Miami. (Laughter.) -- (Gap in feed) -- and I love it.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: How cold was it that day? (Laughter.)
MS. TORANA: I think about 30 degrees below zero. (Laughter.) I graduated at -- international in Computer Science, and that's how I became interested in sending computers overseas. I was part of your Summit of the Americas hosting committee, and I want to thank you for choosing Miami for that event. We are still profiting the effect of the event.
My only advice to your administration is continue doing what you have been doing. I congratulate you for supporting NAFTA. GATT is going to put us on an even plane like everybody has been requesting. Develop more partnerships overseas and remove regulations. The removal of the licensing requirements have been a tremendous advantage for my company. And I want to congratulate Secretary Brown. Your entrepreneurial spirit reflects in the entire organization. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Great. How many countries are you selling computer products in now?
MS. TORANA: Over 100 countries.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: And some of them in Asia, right?
MS. TORANA: Yes. We, actually, we sell Japanese back to Japan. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: So, from right here in the South, you are exporting computer products to Japan?
MS. TORANA: Yes. When Japan started dumping memory chips and products into the United States, I said, why worry about it? Let's dump it back to them at a profit. (Laughter.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: All right. We're running out of time, and we're -- we may not be able to get to everybody in the panel. But I wanted to hear briefly from Janet McAllister because I want to close the loop with some of the earlier discussions that we had today in keeping with the theme of how all this fits together. And, Janet, could you tell us your story?
MS. MCALLISTER: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President. I was involved in the dislocated workers program in 1984. I started to work with a company straight out of high school. I worked with this company for nine years. It was assembly production- line work. And after I was there for nine years, they closed the factory and relocated to Mexico.
I found myself unemployed. I had no marketable skills. So I saw a sign in the unemployment office of the dislocated workers program. I applied and was accepted. After being accepted to the program, I had no doubt what I wanted to major in. I've always had an interest in engineering. I had two years of design drafting in high school, but could not afford to continue my education.
I started school at Tri-County Technical College in the engineering technology program. And I was determined I was going to make the best out of this I possibly could. I graduated in engineering technologies with a 4.0. And my current employer --hired me before I graduated. They hired me in my last quarter. They hired me in as an entry-level drafter. I've been there almost nine years. Currently, I'm a supervisor of the drafting department and the manager of the -- system. I do the hiring for the drafting department now. I recommend and purchase the hardware and software that facilitates our company in the design process.
Mr. President, we've talked a lot today about retraining the adults. I was 27 years old when I started back to school. I had two small children. I had a nine-month-old and a five-year-old. And without the help of the dislocated workers program and re-educating the adults, I would not have been able to achieve my lifelong dream of being in engineering.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Good for you. And I think it's important to remember that early in the session today, the point was made that this -- of the country today faces one potential obstacle to the continued dynamic growth. And that is a shortage of talented, skilled, educated people. And the dynamic companies that are growing and are successful -- in order to continue that growth, they're going to need this.
And the JPPA was what really helped you, right? I'm reminded that my predecessor, as Vice President, Dan Quayle was one of the principle authors of the JPPA in the Senate. It was bipartisan with Dan Quayle and Ted Kennedy. It has always had bipartisan support. And at a time when this region of the country and the whole country needs this job training more than ever, it's a serious mistake to just slash it and cut it back so far that a lot of people who need it will not be able to get it. So we're hopeful that this consensus that's been building in the country will support its continuation.
Ronald Allen, the CEO and Chairman of Delta Airlines has been a key leader of the business community in the South and in Atlanta. Could you tell us your thoughts on this?
MR. ALLEN: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President, members of the Cabinet. I was born and raised in the city of Atlanta. I grew up poor. I didn't really realize that, as a lot of us didn't. I spent a lot of time in public housing growing up. Working the encouragement of my father and part-time jobs, and, I might say, loans from the federal government, I got a college education. And one of those part-time jobs was with Delta Airlines, and that's how I started my career with Delta.
It's been exciting to see this city grow. A lot of the reasons are -- for the success of this city and this area. It's also been exciting to be a part of the transportation industry and to see that grow. Atlanta and the transportation industry, of course, have been linked from the beginning, as Atlanta was terminus in the beginning as railroads came here and formed this city. And now air transportation is a very important part of this area and the city of Atlanta.
If you look back and track what happens when we start a new international route out of any major city, Atlanta, for example, we've seen dramatic growth in foreign investment in this area. We've seen, for example, the cities that we've stated airline service to grow at a rate of about 400 percent since we started service to these cities. So, transportation is a vital part of the economy here.
It looks like, Mr. Vice President -- I don't have to tell you, though -- this is a troubled industry at this time, continues to be a troubled industry. Over the past four years, we've lost $13 billion, 120,000 jobs. There have been cancelled orders for 1,000 aircraft which results in another 125,000 in the manufacturing area that have been lost. The debt levels in this industry now total some $30 billion.
The President called a meeting in Seattle, Washington, two years ago -- February, 1993, Mr. President. And we had a good roundtable discussion at that point in time. You formed the Airline Commission. A lot of good recommendations were made there, and many of them have not yet been implemented. But we're hopeful that they will because a lot of good work went into that. And I commend you for that. But it's obvious we have had to do something to help ourselves. And in Delta, we set out on a program to do just that.
A little over a year ago I met with our people, just going around and meeting with our people in hangars and talking with them. And they told me in almost every meeting, don't come back with partial solutions, but goals for the ultimate solution. And that's what we've done, implementing a program of some $2 billion in cost reduction which started last year. This program is being led by Delta people, some eleven teams headed all by Delta people from within the ranks. And we're well on our way to a successful conclusion. It's a three-year program, but we're in the process now of implementing $1.6 billion of those savings, and I believe that we will accomplish our goal in three years.
It has resulted in job loss. From June of 1992 through June of this year, we will reduce our job complement by some 20,000. That's a 25 percent reduction in our jobs. But I might add that only 10 percent of those 20,000 job losses have resulted in involuntary separation because we've been able to offer a voluntary program. We've retrained about 6,000 people in our organization, and I'm pleased so far with the results.
One innovative program that's grown out of this, Mr. Vice President, is at Clayton State College. We've located a reservation center on the college campus, and we're employing students in that reservation center. It's been good for our company and, certainly, a good work environment for the students there. And it opened in February, and, so far, it's been extremely successful for both us and to the students in that college.
Our program, I might say, is now getting some attention, I'm pleased to say. NASA has been in to look at our overhaul procedures that we're using now in aircraft. The Brookings Institute has been in looking at our program. I might say also, this is the same group of people that donated a $30 million airplane to the company in 1982.
Let me tough on four quick concerns, if I may, and I'll make them very quick. One is in the area of taxation. As you know, that's a major concern. We've seen taxes grow in our industry by 12 percent a year even though our losses were $13 billion over the past four years. We would like to see a deferral of appeal of the fuel tax that's scheduled for implementation in October. That would be a good investment in jobs and our industry.
International regulation policy is another area of concern, and I commend the administration for what you have done -- Secretary Brown, with the leadership, Ambassador Kantor with the GATT leadership, NAFTA leadership. Of course, we are under a different regulation with the bilateral relationships we have throughout the world. We ask you to continue to press for open skies so we can compete, as we said earlier, on a level playing field.
Infrastructure is another important area, Mr. Vice President. You have focused on that in some of your efforts as we look at modernization of air traffic control systems at FAA. We need to keep working together on that.
And, finally, we need to recognize that the travel and tourism business is the largest business in the United States with our 200 million jobs here. I commend Ron Brown for his work, USTA, even though it's a very, very small budget there in comparison to what's happening in other countries. But we need to keep working to form a partnership where we can identify return on investment in this country in that regard. And I commend, again, Secretary Brown and the President for the White House caucus that will be coming up this October.
MR. VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. A quick commercial for the modernization of the air traffic control that you mentioned -- another re-inventing government project. Somebody gave me an example coming in here of a vacuum tube which still use in our air traffic control system. Most of them are not made in the United States anymore. We have to buy them from Poland because they're obsolete in the United States because the system is so encumbered with obsolete regulations and approaches that we can't modernize quickly enough. And the President has proposed the recommendations from National Performance Review to modernize air traffic control and corporatize it. And it has a lot of bipartisan support, but inertia is one of the enemies. But we're going to get it done.
We're running so close to the end of this. I'm going to ask the remaining panelists, Richard Fisher, Jorge Perez, Barbara Davis Blum and Billy Payne to address the question -- and I hate to put a time constraint on you, but really be as brief as you can -- what is the most important action we can take to ensure a growing economy. Richard.
MR. FISHER: Mr. Vice President, we have spoken today in investing in human potential, investing in new technology, investing in our communities and our young people, our workers, our cities, our businesses. To do that takes capital. It takes affordable capital. And I think, in the end, the bottom line is that the most important thing we can do as a nation is to continue along the path of deficit reduction.
You inherited, you and the President inherited, a situation where we had piled on massive amounts of debt. Fourteen percent of every penny we pay out goes to just pay interest on that debt. And we have a noose around our neck which is the noose of compound interest. We know that the debt levels force up interest rates and the cost of money. We know that they lead to reverse social engineering from the standpoint that people that are well-off can take advantage of that situation. People that are poor are struggling to buy a mortgage -- or get started, are victimized by it.
And there's a third aspect to it, and that is that your ability and the President's ability as CEO of a sovereign power is hampered and restrained. Your maneuverability, our maneuverability is hampered and restrained. I want to urge you, Mr. Vice President, to continue along the course of the things that you have stood for -- re-inventing government; reforming the system; making government work for and on behalf of business, rather than against the interest of business and for and on behalf of efficiency. And continue down that path, and please don't waiver.
And please, if you'll allow me, don't get sucked into the vortex of tax reduction. Don't let that thing get carried away. Because the most important thing we can do is bring about the new generation of leadership which you embody and exemplify.
And I just want to conclude on one quick note. As you know, I have run an unsuccessful race for U.S. Senate in Texas. When I got the Democratic nomination, I joked to my colleagues in my party that old Democrats are the kind of people that would pull over to help you fix a flat tire and end up setting your car on fire by accident. Republicans may claim they know how to fix a flat tire, but wouldn't bother to pull over to help you. Our job, your job, and you and the President represent this new generation of leadership. We know what all the flat tires are, but we've had a major blow-up in terms of debt accumulation.
And, in the end, I believe the greatest legacy you can leave this country and future generations is to start us back on the path of being a creditor nation again, and get us away from being a debtor nation and restore the potential and the future for our children. Thank you.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you, Richard. Jorge.
MR. PEREZ: Mr. Vice President, thank you for inviting me here and for listening to all of us. I'm an urban planner, and I have been a developer now for 20 years. I think the mayor of Atlanta and the ex-mayor of Atlanta -- that I'm going to speak about in a much better way. I'm going to summarize it as one thing. I think the gap between the haves and the have-nots has continued to grow in this country. And it really represents a sore in this very affluent and prosperous community. To make matters worse, the fad, the political fashion is to have massive government cuts. And I'm afraid that they are going to be at the expense of our depressed neighborhoods and our central cities.
I want to urge you, Mr. Vice President and Mr. President, to continue to provide and fight for those urban incentives, such as the empowerment zones, the enterprise zones, housing tax credits, tax-exempt financing, home and community development block grants and others that continue to provide incentives for private capital to flow to lower-income minority areas. The emphasis here should be on leverage so each federal dollar attracts a multiple of private funds.
Without the accumulation of these incentives, our older neighborhoods and poorer neighborhoods will continue to decline and the gap between the haves and the have nots, I fear, will widen, producing the type of urban turmoil that will not allow for the long- term, sustained growth of our country.
We have -- I'm one of the examples of a person that came to this country, and without having a citizenship at the time, although I was a legal resident, was able to obtain scholarships and loans from universities and form my own company. We now employ over 1,000 people. We do about $200 million of development a year. And almost half of it is affordable housing.
This would have not been possible without, first, the start-up loans that I got from the government through federal subsidies and, more important, through federal guarantees so I could borrow to build this housing. But, more importantly, now, without the consensus, a developer such as myself and banks will abandon those neighborhoods and go into more profitable areas with lesser risks. So if I have to do one thing, it's to encourage you to keep on fighting to provide those incentives for the urban areas to continue to exist --
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you so much. Barbara Blum.
MS. BLUM: Well, speaking of urban banks -- Mr. Vice President, thank you. I am President and CEO, Chairperson and CEO actually of an urban community bank where 53 percent of our loans are Community Reinvestment Act loans. And we're profitable. So don't back off. It can be done. It can be done in urban areas. It reflects our community, and every bank should do that. Don't back off.
But, ending on a really positive note, in Little Rock, at the Economic Conference, I said to you and the President that it was just as difficult to make a $50,000 loan as it was a $50 million loan. And you reacted so quickly to that, that we were able to get money out into the community safely, soundly, but without the ridiculous kind of things that we had to go through to make these small loans. We got it into the hands, in urban areas, primarily women and minorities. And I think that the two of you should take real credit for that being one step at affirmative action --something that we all think is very important. Thanks.
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you very much. Billy Payne, the man of the year. The man of next year, with the Olympics.
MR. PAYNE: Thank you, Mr. Vice President, Mr. President. Very quickly, I think the most important thing we can do as we contemplate action for the future is to remember the reason for the successes of our past, and, principally, to remember that first and foremost, we are proudly all Americans.
Mr. President, yesterday when you addressed our Olympic Committee, you said in very eloquent style, "The United States needs the Olympics to remind us that every time we work together, every time we keep our eye on the future, every time we keep a set of honorable rules by which to play, and every time we try to lift each other up, we do remarkably well." Well, those remarks, Mr. President, made me realize that the Olympics represent, for thousands of us here in Atlanta, certainly, our American dream, but, more importantly, they represent for tens of millions of other Americans the best possible manifestation of the American spirit.
So where do we go from here? I would suggest, once again, that we turn to our past. That American spirit is our heritage. It's what makes us believe and then go out and prove that we are better than our competition. It's what makes us acknowledge and then confront our problems like we are doing today, but with a view towards resolution and not one of despair or hopelessness. It's simply what makes this country great.
And so I would commit, Mr. President and Mr. Vice President, as we today have discussed current economic conditions in this country and, specifically, the South, and we have admired, in many cases, felt very prosperous in our own success and growth at the way I believe we Southerners really want to be regarded and what we really want to do is to serve all Americans by providing them a living reminder of the power of the American support. Because in doing so, and living always in service to others, we also elevate ourselves. (Applause.)
THE VICE PRESIDENT: Thank you. Mr. President, because we've run over time, I'm not going to make closing remarks on this panel except to thank everyone who has spoken.
But before turning this panel back over to you to close the conference, I thought that someone more appropriate than me to give the closing comments on this particular panel would be Governor William Winter, someone to whom you and I have both looked up over the years. In many ways he asked and addressed almost all the questions we've been talking about on this panel for a long, long time. And, Governor Winter, if you'd make the final remarks, and then turn it back over to the President, I'd be honored.
GOVERNOR WINTER: Thank you, Mr. Vice President. Mr. President, you started off this morning by talking about the halfway home report before the Commission on the future of the South that we started on right here in Atlanta almost 10 years ago. One-half of that report was tied to this proposition -- that sustained economic growth and job creation in the South is tied to the quality of the workforce. Education, training people was the key note of that report. That's what we've been talking about all day today. We know now that we haven't done a very good job in the past. We've left too many people out. We can't afford to leave anymore human beings. And we've got to train them. The NBC organization in Chapel Hill in a more recent report documents all this in a very dramatic way.
There's one other factor that we have ignored in the past, and we haven't talked about much here today. And that is this elusive thing called the quality of life. It's so obvious as I travel around the South, around my state of Mississippi, that the places like Tupelo that are doing well are the ones that are willing to make investments, not only in their schools, and in their usual infrastructure, but in some of the extras -- the libraries and parks and playgrounds, in music and the arts, and in creating good, warm, human relationships that transcend race and class. These are the places that are going to attract capital and create jobs and sustained growth and be the leaders in the region.
We must also think more about the common strengths and weaknesses of the -- The success of programs like the ARC, for instance, have been a model for regional collaboration. We heard just a few minutes ago Harry Bowie talk about the problems in his and my part of the country in the lower Mississippi Delta where similar collaborative efforts have to be applied.
Let me say, finally, this: There is a huge amount of creativity and vision and compassion in communities all across the South. The message that needs to go out from this conference is that we here not let those qualities be diminished or supplanted by selfdefeating attitudes of fear and division and isolation and grief. Thanks to the leadership of you, Mr. President, Mr. Vice President, everyone, all the leaders in this room and those whom you represent, we, in the South, are now more than halfway home. Our commitment today must be to get all the way home. Thank you. (Applause.)
THE PRESIDENT: Let me close by once again thanking Emory University and its leadership for letting us be here, and thank all of you for giving us a day of your lives -- which I will say again, I hope you think it has been well spent. I have been deeply moved by the stories I have heard.
I actually have quite a lot more specific and clear sense than I did when the day started about the similarities and the differences of the Southern economy as compared with the rest of the country, and the differences within the states which are still not insignificant. I have a clear idea of what all of you think, based on your personal experience, is the appropriate role of the federal government. And, again, I will say, it strikes me as, not on the extreme that there is a government solution for most problems or the extreme it would be better if the government went away and wasn't around anymore, but it's somewhere not in the middle but way beyond that -- much more sophisticated.
And I leave this meeting feeling more hopeful, as I always do when I get a chance to talk to the American people, but certainly to be here in a kind of a homecoming for me. A lot of you I've worked with for more than ten years.
But I would say this in view of what both Bill Winter and what Billy Payne said: You know, all of us have a scale inside us, I think, a sort of psychological scale about the way we look at the world. And some days, it seems to be a little more weighed on the positive, hopeful side of the scale, and some days, somebody takes some of the weight off and it kind of gets off on the other edge. And we all battle it within ourselves, within our families, within our work organizations.
And one thing I said this morning I want you to remember -- we cannot go on where we have a disconnect between our public conversation. It's so often oriented towards what divides us and how to get us to resent one another. And our public behavior, that is, the things we do together which is what works, is what Billy said, is when we play by the rules, we work hard, we try to bring out the best in everybody. We recognize we don't have a person to waste.
The South learned that lesson, I think, better than any other part of the country because of the horrible price we paid for our past. And I think that's why the economy is growing more rapidly than in any other part of the country, why Atlanta is the perfect place to hold the Olympics and why we have a chance to see this region lead our country into a very bright 21st century.
But we've got a lot of work to do, and I feel today that all of us -- and I know the President, at least -- has more energy for the tasks ahead and a better idea about how to approach them, thanks to you. I thank you very much. (Applause.)
END5:03 P.M. EST