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January 29, 1999

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Changes in technology and commerce and patterns of living don't make our cities obsolete. They give us a chance to come together as only great and growing communities can, to make our cities more dynamic, more exciting, more livable for more people than ever before. I look forward to that challenge.

President Bill Clinton
January 29, 1999

Today, President Clinton addresses the U.S. Conference of Mayors, where he will outline an ambitious agenda to strengthen our cities for the 21st Century through increased economic opportunity, a commitment to continued crime reduction, safer and better schools, and a pledge to preserve our green spaces and allow communities to grow in a sensible manner. In addition, the President will announce new figures showing that our nation's economy remains strong and stable.

Encouraging Economic Development In Our Nation's Cities. Today, the Clinton Administration releases an interim State of the Cities report, showing that since 1992, unemployment in our central cities has dropped 40 percent and large cities have seen a 27 percent reduction in crime. While these figures show dramatic improvement has occurred in our cities, there is more we must do. President Clinton's budget proposal for fiscal year 2000 calls for:

  • A $2.5 billion increase in the HUD budget to help our distressed communities prosper;
  • 100,000 new housing vouchers to help hard-pressed families with affordable housing;
  • A New Markets Initiative to spur $15 billion in private sector investment in underserved areas, through tax credits and guarantees.

Safe Cities Will Be Strong Cities In The 21st Century. The President's budget proposal includes a 21st Century crime bill that will: (1) help communities hire and redeploy at least 30,000 new officers to help reduce crime, (2) enlist probation and parole officers, school officials and faith-based organizations to take our streets back from crime, and (3) give police high-tech tools to fight crime, from digital mugshots to crime-mapping computers in squad cars.

Strengthening Education To Prepare Our Children For The Jobs Of Tomorrow. As we enter the 21st Century, nothing will be more important to our continued economic growth than giving our children a world-class education. The President's education plan calls for:

  • Strengthening accountability by ensuring that schools end social promotion, issue school report cards and adopt discipline policies; that teachers are qualified to teach the subjects they are assigned, and that states turn around their low-performing schools
  • Reducing class size in the early grades by hiring 100,000 well-prepared teachers;
  • Building and modernizing more than 5,000 public schools nationwide and triple funding for after-school programs.

Working With Communities To Sustain Growth And Ensure A High Quality Of Life. As part of the Clinton-Gore Livability Agenda, the Administration will continue to work with and learn from states, cities, and communities and help them:

  • Preserve green spaces that promote clean air and water, sustain wildlife, and provide families with places to walk, play, and relax;
  • Ease traffic congestion by improving road planning, strengthening existing transportation systems, and expanding the use of alternative transportation;
  • Restore a sense of community by fostering citizen and private sector involvement in local planning, including the placement of schools and other public facilities.

America's Economy Remains Strong And Stable. The President will announce that in the fourth quarter of 1998 our gross domestic product grew at a 5.6% annual rate and business investment grew at a 21 percent annual rate. These figures are continuing proof that our economy remains strong under the President's leadership -- we are currently in the longest peacetime economic expansion in American history, which is being led by private sector investment, and business investment has grown at a double-digit rate for six consecutive years -- the first time on record.

Clinton/Gore Administration's Agenda for Communities

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January 29, 1999

Clinton-Gore Administration's Agenda for Communities