PRESIDENT CLINTON AND VICE PRESIDENT GORE Revitalizing America's Cities
EXPANDING ECONOMIC OPPORTUNITY:
American Cities Enjoying Strong Economic Growth. The unemployment rate in central cities has fallen from 8.9 percent in 1992 to 5.3 percent in 1999, while the number of private sector jobs in central cities increased by 8.5 percent between 1992 and 1997. And in 1999, homeownership in cities broke the 50 percent barrier for the first time -- rising to 50.4 percent in 1999 and 51.2 percent in the first quarter of 2000.
Encouraging Investment in Underserved Communities with the New Markets Initiative. President Clinton's New Markets Initiative will stimulate new private capital investments in economically distressed communities and build a network of private investment institutions to funnel credit, equity and technical assistance to businesses in America's new markets. President Clinton and Speaker Hastert worked together to enact this bipartisan initiative as a part of the FY 2001 budget. The agreement includes extension and expansion of Empowerment Zones, an increase in the Low Income Housing Tax Credit, the creation of the New Markets Tax Credit, the creation of New Markets Venture Capital Firms, and the creation of 40 Renewal Communities. The President has taken three New Markets Tours of underserved communities, which have helped generate more than $1 billion in private sector investment commitments.
Expanding Access to Capital Through Community Development Financial Institutions (CDFI). Proposed and signed into law by the President in 1994, the CDFI Fund is helping to create a network of community development financial institutions in distressed areas across the United States through grants, loans and equity investments. As of late 2000, the CDFI Fund had certified over 400 community development banks, community development credit unions, housing and business loan funds and venture capital firms as CDFIs. The CDFI Fund has provided over $400 million in funding to institutions that provide capital and financial services to underserved markets.
Expanding Investment in Urban and Rural Areas. Spurring economic development in distressed communities, the Clinton-Gore Administration has created 31 Empowerment Zones (EZs) and more than 100 Enterprise Communities (ECs), including 50 rural ECs, which are creating new jobs, new opportunities and stronger communities. This would have a dramatic effect in the areas with high unemployment, weak economies, shortages of affordable housing and other problems. The President secured $70 million in funding for Rural and Urban Empowerment Zones in FY 2000 -- after Congress initially provided no funding. The FY 2001 budget agreement extends and expands the incentives in the existing EZs, as well as creates nine new Round III Empowerment Zones for a total of 40.
Strengthening Community Reinvestment. In 1995, the Administration updated the Community Reinvestment Act regulations to focus on banks' actual service delivery, rather than on compliance efforts. From 1993 to 1998, lenders subject to the law increased mortgage lending to lowand moderate-income families by 80 percent -- more than twice the rate they increased mortgage lending to other income groups. In November 1999, President Clinton signed financial modernization legislation, which also included provisions to guarantee that our financial system will continue to meet the needs of underserved communities. Under the law, banks cannot expand into activities such as securities or insurance underwriting unless they can demonstrate that they are meeting the credit needs of all the communities they serve, including low- and moderate-income communities. The law also provides additional support for grass-roots community development by authorizing a new Program for Investment in Microentrepreneurs (PRIME), to provide business advice to low- income microentrepreneurs.
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 approximately 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 commitments.
Creating New Tools to Help Families Move from Welfare to Work. Under the Clinton-Gore Administration, the welfare rolls have dropped dramatically and are now the lowest since 1968. Between January 1993 and June 2000, the number of welfare recipients dropped by 8.3 million to 5.8 million (nearly a 60 percent decline). With the President's leadership, the 1997 Balanced Budget Act included $3 billion to move long-term welfare recipients and low-income non-custodial fathers into jobs. To fully implement this initiative, the President's FY 2001 budget proposed and Congress passed a two -- year extension of the time during which grantees can spend Welfare-to-Work funds. The Welfare-to-Work and Work Opportunity Tax Credits provide tax incentives to encourage businesses to hire welfare recipients by offering one to two-year tax credits to defray some of the employees wages. The President's Access to Jobs initiative helps communities design innovative transportation solutions, such as van services, to help former welfare recipients and other low-income workers get to work; the FY 2001 budget agreement includes $100 million for this program, up from $75 million last year. In addition, the Clinton-Gore Administration made it easier for low-income families to get to work by allowing them to own a reliable car without losing nutritional support and working with Congress to allow states to conform their food stamps vehicle policy with a more generous TANF vehicle policy. The Administration has also worked with Congress to secure nearly 200,000 housing vouchers to subsidize the rent of low-income Americans, including welfare recipients who need housing assistance in order to get or keep a job.
MAKING OUR COMMUNITIES SAFER:
Lowest Crime Rates in a Generation. When President Clinton and Vice President Gore took office in 1993, the violent crime rate in America had more than quadrupled during the previous three decades. Since then, America has experienced the longest continuous drop in crime on record. Overall crime rates has dropped every year under President Clinton and Vice President Gore, the longest continuous drop on record and crime is now at a 26-year low. Violent crime rate fell 30 percent since 1993 and is at the lowest level in two decades. Since 1993, the murder rate is down more than 38 percent to its lowest point since 1966, and gun violence has declined by 40 percent.
Putting 100,000 More Police on the Streets. In 1999, ahead of schedule and under budget, the Clinton-Gore Administration met its commitment to fund an additional 100,000 police officers for our communities. To help keep crime at record lows, President Clinton won over $1 billion in 2001 to help communities take the next step toward hiring up to 50,000 more police officers by FY 2005.
More Than 600,000 Felons, Fugitives and Domestic Abusers Denied Guns. Since taking effect in 1994, the Brady Law has helped to prevent a total of more than 611,000 felons, fugitives, domestic abusers, and other prohibited purchasers from buying guns. In November 1998, the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS) took effect under the Brady Law, allowing access to a fuller set of records that law enforcement officials can use to conduct checks of all prospective gun purchases -- not just for handguns. In the last two years, NICS has conducted over 17.5 million background checks on gun purchasers, and stopped nearly 300,000 illegal gun sales.
Keeping Assault Weapons Off of the Streets and Decreasing Gun Crime. The historic 1994 Crime Bill banned 19 of the deadliest assault weapons and their copies, keeping assault weapons off our streets. Since 1993, the gun-related crime rate has declined by more than 40 percent and the number of juvenile homicide gun offenders has dropped 57 percent.
INVESTING IN EDUCATION:
Providing Early Education to Nearly One Million Children with Head Start. The President and Vice President have more than doubled Head Start funding since 1993, from $2.8 billion to $6.2 billion. Head Start will reach approximately 936,000 low-income children in FY 2001, on track to reach the President's goal of serving one million children and their families by the year 2002. The Clinton Administration also created Early Head Start, bringing Head Start's successful comprehensive services to families with children ages zero to three, and set high quality standards for both programs.
Turning Around Failing Schools. About 13 million disadvantaged students in 14,000 school districts now benefit from higher expectations and a challenging curriculum geared to higher standards through Title I-Aid to Disadvantaged Students. In FY 2001 President Clinton won $225 million for the accountability fund he created to help turn around the lowest performing schools through such measures as overhauling curriculum, improving staffing, or even closing schools and reopening them as charter schools.
Investing in School Construction. President Clinton fought for and won a new initiative to repair America's schools, providing $1.2 billion in the FY 2001 budget for urgent school renovation. This initiative was a top priority of the President's, but wasn't in the earlier Republican budget passed by the House of Representatives.
More High-Quality Teachers with Smaller Class Sizes. The Clinton-Gore Administration won a third installment of $1.6 billion for the President's plan to hire an additional 100,000 well-prepared teachers to reduce class size in the early grades, when children learn to read and master the basic skills. This is a $323 million increase over last year's funding level, despite the fact that the Republican budget failed to dedicate funds for class-size reduction. Already, 29,000 teachers have been hired through this initiative, and class sizes have been reduced for 1.7 million children nationwide.
Providing Safe After-School Opportunities for 1.3 Million Students Each Year. The 21st Century Community Learning Centers program will provide enriching after-school and summer school opportunities for 1.3 million school-age children in rural and urban communities in FY 2001. Extended learning time has not only been shown to increase achievement in reading and math, but to decrease youth violence and drug use. The President won an 87 percent funding increase in FY 2001 to help ensure that more children in failing schools have access to quality after-school and summer school opportunities to help them succeed.
Expanding Choice and Accountability in Public Schools. The Clinton-Gore Administration has worked to expand public school choice and support the growth of public charter schools, which have increased from one public charter school in the nation when the President was first elected to more than 2,000 today. Charter schools now operate in 34 states and the District of Columbia. President Clinton won a $45 million increase in funds in FY 2001 to support the start up of 450 new or redesigned schools that offer enhanced public school choice and have the flexibility to offer innovative educational programs in exchange for greater accountability for student achievement.
Expanding Access to Technology. With the Vice President's leadership, the Clinton-Gore Administration has made increasing access to technology a top priority, increasing our investment in educational technology by over 3,600 percent -- from $23 million in FY 1993 to $872 million in FY 2001, and doubling funding for Community Technology Centers to reach at least 180 low-income communities. The President and Vice President created the Technology Literacy Challenge Fund to increase the number of multimedia computers in the classroom and provide technology training for teachers. Through the E-rate program, they secured low-cost connections to the Internet for schools, libraries and hospitals, benefiting more than 80 percent of America's public schools. In 1999, 95 percent of public schools were connected to the Internet -- up from just 35 percent in 1994.
IMPROVING THE ENVIRONMENT:
Accelerating Toxic Cleanups and Brownfields Redevelopment. Cleaned up 608 Superfund sites -- more than three times as many in eight years as the previous administrations cleaned in twelve -- with clean up of more than 90 percent of all sites either completed or in progress. The Clinton-Gore Administration has leveraged more than $2.8 billion in private sector investment and generated 7,300 jobs through the Brownfields redevelopment initiative. For every dollar the federal, state and local governments put into revitalizing Brownfields, almost $2.50 in private investment is attracted.
Clearing the Air of Unhealthy Pollution. The Clinton-Gore Administration adopted the toughest standards ever on soot and smog, and has proposed significant reductions in tailpipe emissions from cars, light trucks and SUVs. New standards for diesel fuels will also reduce the smog-causing emissions of heavy duty trucks and buses by 95 percent. Since 1993, the number of Americans living in communities that meet federal air quality standards has grown by 43 million.
Keeping Our Drinking Water Safe. The President proposed and signed legislation to strengthen the Safe Drinking Water Act to ensure that our families have healthy, clean tap water. The Clinton-Gore Administration has required America's 55,000 water utilities to provide regular reports to their customers on the quality of their drinking water. The Administration has adopted or proposed new standards to provide the first-ever protection against waterborne illness like Cryptosporidium, potentially preventing more than half a million illnesses each year. Eighty-nine percent of America's tap water from community drinking water systems now meets all federal standards.