PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE
HIGHLIGHT AN EMPOWERMENT AGENDA
FOR TAPPING AMERICA'S POTENTIAL
Today, the President and Vice President are visiting a successful
Empowerment Zone, the Rio Grande Valley, Texas, site of this year's
White House Community Empowerment Conference. More than 500
participants from Empowerment Zones across the country are expected to
gather in Edinburg, Texas which sits right on the border with Mexico.
The conference will provide a forum for community members to share
valuable lessons and participate in a series of seminars. Seminars
will focus on topics ranging from stimulating private sector investment
to fostering safer, healthier neighborhoods. Seminars will help EZ/EC
residents and community boards to implement their strategic plans and
further their revitalization efforts.
THE PRESIDENT AND VICE PRESIDENT CONTINUE TO SHOW LEADERSHIP BY BUILDING ON THEIR SIX-YEAR RECORD OF PROMOTING GROWTH AND OPPORTUNITY
IN AMERICA'S COMMUNITIES. Since 1993, President Clinton and Vice
President Gore have been committed to tapping the potential of
America's urban and rural communities. They have a demonstrated record
of creating new initiatives and expanding existing initiatives to
promote community and economic development. The Clinton-Gore
Administration has worked with the private sector, states, and
localities to help revitalize America's communities by bringing
capital, jobs, and opportunity to distressed areas and cleaning up the
urban environment. President Clinton and Vice President Gore have
created or expanded the following initiatives over the last six years:
Helping to Bring Private Enterprise and Capital to Distressed Areas.
The Clinton-Gore Administration has re-newed the commitment of the
Federal government to help bring private enterprise into underserved
communities and improve access to capital for low-income households,
minorities, and traditionally underserved borrowers.
135 Empowerment Zones and Enterprise Communities. The Clinton
Administration has announced 105 EZs and ECs across the country. This
effort was proposed by President Clinton and passed by Congress in 1993.
The EZ/EC effort has generated more than $2 billion of new private
sector investment in community development activities. The President has
also signed into law a second round of Ezs -- 15 new urban and 5 new
rural zones -- which will include tax incentives, small business
expensing, and private activity bonds. In FY 1999, President Clinton
and Congress provided first-year funding of $55 million for the new EZs,
and $5 million in first-year funding for 20 new rural Enterprise
Communities announced in January.
Empowerment Zones and Job Training. Empowerment Zones and
Enterprise Communities are engaged in more than 550 job training
programs with 42,000 Zone residents having received job training. Nearly
30,000 Zone residents have been placed in jobs as a result of these
job-training programs. Zone residents have attended approximately 270
job fairs resulting in 16,000 job placements. As a result of the
Empowerment and Enterprise Zone initiative, access to cheap sources of
capital -- the lifeblood of commerce --has greatly improved. Over 4,300
businesses have been served by the EZ/EC capital access/credit access
programs and 4,500 businesses have received technical assistance from
the EZ/EC programs.
Strengthened and Simplified the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA).
In April 1995, the Clinton Administration reformed the CRA regulations
to emphasize performance. According to the National Community
Reinvestment Coalition (NCRC), the private sector has pledged more than
$1 trillion going forward in loans to distressed communities and more
than 95 percent of these financial commitments have been made since
1992. Banks made $18.6 billion in community development loans in 1997
alone. Lending to minority and low-income borrowers is also on the
Created the Community Development Financial Institutions Fund
(CDFI). Proposed and signed into law by the President in 1994, the CDFI
Fund, through grants, loans, and equity investments, is helping to
create a network of community development financial institutions in
distressed areas across the United States. The CDFI fund was
established in 1994. In FY99, funding was increased 19 percent to $95
million from $80 million.
The Economic Development Initiative and Section 108 Loan Guarantee.
EDI grants are used to infuse capital into community development
projects, enhancing the debt financing provided by the Section 108 loan
guarantee program. Together, the programs support critical economic
development in distressed communities. Estimated jobs supported by EDI
and the Section 108 loan guarantee have grown by 300,000 from 1994 to
1998. During this time period EDI and the Section 108 loan guarantee
program have funded $3.5 billion for more than 650 separate project