Office of the Press Secretary

For Immediate Release January 13, 2000


Today, in New York, President Clinton will announce further elements of his new opportunity agenda. Today in New York, President Clinton will announce a series of proposals to help more Americans share in our country's economic prosperity including:

Building on last year's momentum, President Clinton will expand upon his commitment to prompt private investment in America's urban and rural areas. On two trips last year in July and November, the President led a delegation of CEOs, Members of Congress and Cabinet Secretaries throughout the country to highlight the potential for new private sector investments in economically distressed communities. The President has also announced that he will lead a trip this spring, inspiring investments to close the digital divide. Based on his agreement with Speaker Hastert announced in Chicago last year, the President is committed to developing and passing a bi-partisan New Markets legislative initiative. President Clinton's bold new agenda:

More than Doubles the proposed New Markets Tax Credit to spur $15 billion in new private investment for New Markets. Businesses in our nation's inner cities and isolated rural communities often lack access to equity capital to grow and succeed. For the FY2001 budget, the President proposes a major expansion of his effort to help attract new capital to these businesses through tax credits for equity investments. Last year, Representative Rangel introduced the President's original New Markets tax credit proposal in the House (H.R. 2713), and Senators Rockefeller and Robb introduced similar legislation in the Senate (S. 1526). Here is how the President's newly expanded proposal would work:

Expands the Empowerment Zones Tax INCENTIVES to promote economic growth in underserved areas. In his FY2001 budget, the President will propose a series of measures to extend and improve economic growth in the 31 existing Empowerment Zones and create a Third Round of 10 new Empowerment Zones. The total budget cost of the President's proposals is about $4 billion over 10 years. These measures include:

PROVIDES ACCESS TO FINANCIAL SERVICES TO LOW AND MODERATE INCOME AMERICANS THROUGH FIRST ACCOUNTS. Too many Americans are without banking services--it is estimated that 11 million low-income American families do not have bank accounts. The Federal Reserved estimated that 25 percent of all low-to-moderate income families in 1995 (those earning less than $24,000) had no bank account - about 11 million families. Other studies put the number higher and lower. Today, President Clinton will announce a new initiative called First Accounts to bring the "unbanked" into the financial mainstream. The Treasury Department will include $30 million to pilot strategies to help low- and moderate-income Americans benefit from basic financial services that most people take for granted - like bank accounts and ATM cards. The initiative involves three components:

CONTINUES EFFORTS TO ATTRACT CAPITAL TO UNDERSERVED AREAS AND PROMOTE PUBLIC-PRIVATE PARTNERSHIPS. In addition to the tax incentive programs, key components of the President's New Markets agenda also include:

Roundtable on the Community Reinvestment Act. President Clinton issued an invitation to corporate leaders to participate in a roundtable at the White House to discuss how the business community can build upon the success of the Community Reinvestment Act (CRA). The President stood firm for a strong CRA. President Clinton fought hard to ensure that when bank powers were expanded, banks had to comply with CRA to engage in these new activities. Last year, under CRA, banks and thrifts made $88 billion in loans for home ownership and small businesses in low and moderate income communities. Over 95% of the financial commitments made under CRA have been made in the last six years - over $1 trillion in long-term commitments to lend in communities.

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