Clinton Seeks Initiative to Boost Urban, Rural Areas

By Harper, Peter Alan | THE JOURNAL RECORD, January 15, 1999 | Go to article overview

Clinton Seeks Initiative to Boost Urban, Rural Areas


Harper, Peter Alan, THE JOURNAL RECORD


NEW YORK -- President Clinton wants the government to offer financial incentives worth hundreds of millions of dollars to Wall Street firms and small businesses to resurrect the economies of underserved rural and urban areas from Appalachia to Harlem.

The president is to announce the proposals today at an economic conference organized by the Wall Street Project, an initiative of Jesse Jackson's Rainbow/PUSH Coalition. The project's mission is to expand business opportunities for minorities and women.

The proposals, which will be included in Clinton's budget plan, are the culmination of talks Clinton has had with Congress, federal agencies, community groups, finance experts and Jackson, who has been pushing for them. Jackson particularly wants to see agencies created that offer the same kinds of incentives the government now offers U.S. businesses going overseas. In an interview, he cited, among other agencies, the Overseas Private Investment Corp., an arm of the government that finances U.S. businesses overseas. The corporation offers loans and loan guarantees and secures private investment funds while insuring overseas investments against political risks. "We need a domestic version of these vehicles," Jackson said. "Whether it's the Ozarks, East L.A. or Harlem, there must be vehicles... to transport capital to people who need it." Jim Hill, state treasurer of Oregon and president of the National Association of State Treasurers, praised the concept Thursday at the conference. "It makes sense to me to use the same ideas to serve underserved people, he said. Margaret Cheap, president of South Shore Bank in Chicago, a leading investor in underserved neighborhoods, said the programs would work if the government creates sustainable institutions in communities as opposed to one-shot efforts. This is Jackson's second annual Wall Street conference, a two-day affair whose sponsors include a number of blue chip companies such as Citigroup, Coca-Cola, Ford and General Motors. …

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