View Header

THE WHITE HOUSE

Office of the Press Secretary


For Immediate Release September 27, 1999

|----------------------------------------------------------------------|

|                                                                      |
|               PRESIDENT CLINTON'S COMMITMENT TO INVEST               |
|               IN SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND MODERNIZATION               |
|                          September 27, 1999                          |
|                                                                      |

|----------------------------------------------------------------------|

"Today too many of our schools are so old they're falling apart, or so over-crowded students are learning in trailers. Last fall, Congress missed the opportunity to change that. This year, with 53 million children in our schools, Congress must not miss that opportunity again."

TODAY, PRESIDENT CLINTON STRESSES THE IMPORTANCE OF INVESTING IN SCHOOL CONSTRUCTION AND MODERNIZATION. Today, at Sophie B. Wright Middle School, in New Orleans, LA, President Clinton renews his commitment to addressing the urgent need to invest in school construction and modernization. The President will highlight his School Modernization Bond proposal, which provides $24.8 billion in tax credit bonds over two years to modernize up to 6,000 schools. President Clinton's proposal has an estimated cost of $3.7 billion over five years, and is fully paid for in his budget.

REPUBLICAN PLAN WOULD SUPPORT THE MODERNIZATION OF ONLY ABOUT ONE-TENTH AS MANY SCHOOLS AS THE PRESIDENT'S PLAN. The President's targeted tax cut would cover the interest on state and local efforts to build and modernize 6,000 public schools across the nation. The Republican alternative, part of their tax bill, is inadequate to address the urgent needs for school construction and modernization. The Republican plan provides marginal help to address the needs of only 644 schools. In fact, it could cause delays in construction and encourage risky investment of taxpayer funds. While the Republican tax bill provides little for school construction that would potentially benefit millions of children, it uses 25 times as much money to eliminate the estate tax - which is estimated to benefit 72,000 wealthy families by an average of $600,000 each in 2009.

REPUBLICAN TAX AND BUDGET PROPOSALS THREATEN EDUCATION PRIORITIES. President Clinton will stress that the Republican tax cut would spend the entire non-Social Security surplus and would lead to cuts of nearly 50 percent in domestic spending by the end of the decade (assuming defense was funded at the level requested by the President). These could lead to nearly 50 percent cuts in key initiatives to keep schools safe and drug-free, help children learn to read, reduce class size in the early grades, support after-school programs, and expand access to college. The President will urge Congress to work with him to enact a responsible budget that puts first things first, paying down the debt, strengthening and modernizing Medicare and Social Security, and investing in key priorities like education.

NATIONALLY, THERE IS AN URGENT NEED FOR SCHOOL MODERNIZATION

# # #