President Clinton and Vice President Gore are committed to tapping the potential of Americas urban and rural communities. This budget moves forward on their vision to help revitalize Americas communities:
- 50,000 Welfare-to-Work Housing Vouchers. President Clintons FY 1999 Budget included $283 million for 50,000 new vouchers exclusively for people who need housing assistance to make the transition from welfare to work. The original House bill included $100 million, while the Senate provided only $40 million. The final budget includes President Clintons full request of $283 million for 50,000 welfare-to-work housing vouchers.
- Flexible Funding for Empowerment Zones. President Clinton and Vice President Gore requested mandatory funding for second-round urban and rural Empowerment Zones. While the House and the Senate did not provide any funding, the final budget includes $60 million in this flexible discretionary funding for the next round of Empowerment Zones and new rural Enterprise Communities.
- Extended Welfare-to-Work Tax Credit. This tax credit encourages employers to hire, invest in training, and retain long-term welfare recipients. The credit is for 35 percent of the first $10,000 in wages in the first year of employment and 50 percent of the first $10,000 in the second year. President Clinton proposed to extend the credit in his FY99 budget and the final budget includes an extension through June 30, 1999.
- Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) Expansion. The Administration requested a major expansion of the CDFI program to continue building a national network of community development banks. The original House bill froze CDFI funding at $80 million, while the Senate cut funding to $55 million. The final budget increases CDFI funding from $80 million in FY98 to $95 million in FY99 -- a 19-percent increase.
- Public Housing Reform. This legislation makes the Presidents landmark housing reform a reality. This bipartisan bill will allow more economic integration and deconcentration in our Nations public housing, encourage and reward work, provide protections for those most in need, and put the Nation back into the housing business with the first new housing vouchers in five years.
- FHA Loan Limit Increased. President Clintons FY99 budget included an increase in the FHA loan limit to expand homeownership opportunities to more Americans. The final budget includes an increase in the FHA loan limit, raising the limit from $86,317 to $109,032 in the lowest cost areas and from $170,300 to $197,621 in the highest cost areas.
- Extended Work Opportunity Tax Credit. This tax credit encourages employers to hire individuals who have traditionally had a hard time securing employment. Targeted groups include disadvantaged youth, including those living in empowerment zones and enterprise communities, welfare recipients, and qualified veterans. The maximum credit paid to the employer is as much as 40 percent of an individuals first $6,000 in wages. The President proposed to extend this credit in his FY99 budget and the final budget includes an extension through June 30, 1999.
- Play-by-the-Rules Homeownership Initiative. President Clintons FY99 budget included $25 million for the Neighborhood Reinvestment Corporation to start the Play-by- the-Rules homeownership initiative, which would make homeownership more accessible to 10,000 families who have good rental histories, but are not adequately served in the housing market. The final budget includes $25 million for this new initiative.
- Increased Funding for Homeless Assistance. The President proposed a major expansion of HUDs continuum of care program, designed to help homeless persons obtain health care, jobs, and permanent housing. The final budget includes $975 million in funds for the homeless -- a $152 million, or 18 percent, increase over last year.
- HUD Fair Housing. The President proposed a major expansion of HUDs Fair Housing programs, as part of his One America initiative. The final budget expands HUDs Fair Housing programs from $30 million in FY98 to $40 million in FY99. That 33-percent increase includes $7.5 million for a new audit-based enforcement initiative proposed by the Administration.
- Regional Opportunity Counseling. The Administration requested funds to help counsel Section 8 certificate and voucher holders on their full range of housing options. While the Senate did not include any funding for this initiative, the final budget includes $10 million for this voluntary effort to expand the housing and employment opportunities available to low-income families.
- Expansion of HUDs Youthbuild Program. The Administration proposed expanding funds for Youthbuild by more than a quarter. While the original House bill provided $35 million and the Senate provided $40 million, the final budget includes $42.5 million -- an increase of over 20 percent.
- Cleaning Up Brownfields. The Administration proposed $91 million for EPAs brownfield activities, such as grants for site assessment and community planning. The final budget includes the Presidents request of $91 million.
- Community Development Block Grant (CDBG) Expansion. President Clintons FY99 budget included an expansion of CDBG. The final budget increases funding for CDBG from $4.675 billion in FY98 to $4.750 billion in FY99 -- thats a $75 million expansion this year.
- Increased Help For Communities Suffering From Sudden and Severe Economic Dislocation. President Clintons FY99 budget included a 10-percent increase in funds for EDA so that they can better respond to sudden and severe economic dislocation. The final budget increases funding for EDA from $361 million to $393 million -- thats a 9-percent expansion this year.
- Heating and Cooling Assistance for Low-Income Families Protected. More than five million low-income families receive help to pay for home heating costs through this program, yet the House Republicans tried to eliminate it. The final budget includes the Presidents full request for funding to help low-income families pay for home heating and cooling assistance.
- Expansion of NADBank. The Administration proposed providing the North American Development Banks (NADBank) Community Adjustment and Investment Program $37 million of paid-in capital, which would allow the Bank to leverage private capital markets to provide additional financing to trade-affected communities. The final budget includes $10 million of paid-in capital for the NADBank.
- $75 Million for Welfare-to-Work Transportation Funds. While the House and Senate provided $50 million -- the minimum amount guaranteed in the transportation bill -- the final budget includes $75 million for this competitive grant program. These funds will assist states and localities in developing flexible transportation alternatives, such as van services, to help former welfare recipients and other low income workers get to work.
- Individual Development Accounts. Since 1992, President Clinton has supported the creation of Individual Development Accounts (IDAs) to empower individuals to save for a first home, post-secondary education, or to start a new business. Congress recently passed legislation authorizing IDAs, and the final budget includes $10 million to get this program off the ground.
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