In reviewing the just-released budget for the coming year, DI uncovers some surprising opportunities. This brief summary reveals some of the focus areas for the Clinton Administration’s last hurrah.
The President’s budget includes $120 million for a Small Schools Initiative to reinvent high schools on a smaller scale and make them more responsive to student needs. School districts could use this money to create small schools or to break up existing large schools into smaller learning communities.
Special Education.The President’s budget will increase funding for charter schools by $30 million dollars—from $145 million to $175 million. With 1,700 charter schools now in operation, this funding will help reach the goal of 3,000 charter schools by 2002.
School Construction and Modernization.President Clinton is renewing his commitment to School Modernization Bonds by proposing $24.8 billion in tax credit bonds over two years to modernize up to 6,000 schools. Within this $24.8 billion program, $2.4 billion is reserved for Qualified Zone Academy Bonds. In addition, the budget includes a new $1.3 billion urgent/emergency school renovation loan and grant proposal. This proposal would cost $8 billion over 10 years.
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) School Construction and Repair.The President has proposed $300 million, more than double the FY2000 enacted level of $133 million, to replace and repair BIA-funded schools on reservations. This is the largest investment ever in a single year for BIA school construction and repair. Of these funds, $126 million would be used to assist in replacing at least six of the 185 BIA-funded schools on reservations. The remaining $174 million would provide for much-needed health and safety-related repairs, improvements, and maintenance that together comprise a roughly $700 million backlog.
Child Care.Supporting Parents in Higher Education by Offering College Campus Based Child Care. To help low-income parents pursue higher education, the President’s budget includes $15 million—a $10 million increase over last
year’s funding level—to provide an additional 150 college campuses with
grants to support the establishment or expansion of child care services. States may also use a share of the Child Care and Development Block Grant for this purpose.
Creating New Child Care Tax Incentives for Businesses. In his budget, President Clinton will also propose a new tax credit for businesses that provide child care services for their employees. These services could include: building or expanding child care facilities, operating existing facilities, training child care workers, or providing child care resource and referral services. The credit covers 25 percent of qualified costs (and 10 percent of resource and referral service expenses), but may not exceed $150,000 per year per business. This tax credit costs $1.4 billion over 10 years.
The Clinton-Gore Administration’s FY2001 budget includes investments to
address the nation’s long-term care needs, improve the quality of care, expand the Administration’s commitment to biomedical research, and safeguard and improve the public health.
Addressing the Nation’s Multi-faceted Long-term Care Needs. The FY2001 budget will include a $28 billion, 10-year investment in long-term care. The initiative tackles the complex problem of long-term care that affects millions of elderly, people with disabilities, children with special needs and the families who care for them. Its centerpiece is a $3,000 tax credit for people with long-term care needs or their caregivers—the budget triples the credit over last year’s proposal. In addition to the tax credit, the initiative will: (1) provide funding for services which support family caregivers of older persons; (2) improve equity in Medicaid eligibility for people in home- and community-based settings; (3) encourage partnerships between low-income housing for the elderly and Medicaid; and (4) encourage the purchase of quality private long-term care insurance by Federal employees.
Supporting Biomedical Research.The President’s FY2001 budget includes almost $19 billion, an increase of $1 billion over last year’s funding level, for biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH).
Safeguarding and Improving the Public Health.President Clinton’s FY2001 budget affirms the Administration’s commitment to improving public health and invests in several priorities including: new efforts to combat HIV and AIDS; food safety programs; additional efforts to combat emerging infectious diseases; family planning efforts nationwide; efforts to promote childhood immunizations; a Medicare demonstration project on cancer clinical trials; mental health and substance abuse prevention activities; and improving the nation’s response to the threat of bioterrorism.
Combating the Spread of HIV / AIDS and Other Diseases.The President’s FY2001 budget calls for an additional $100 million investment in AIDS prevention, care, public health infrastructure, and education in the African and Asian countries that have been hit the hardest by the disease. It also includes a new tax credit for sales of vaccines for malaria, tuberculosis, and AIDS to accelerate the development of these vaccines, building upon a proposed $50 million investment in the Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization (GAVI). Finally, the President will call upon the World Bank to dedicate up to $900 million annually to expand immunization, treat common diseases, and build delivery systems for basic health services.
The proposed environment budget represents an 11 percent increase over FY2000 and a 36 percent increase over FY 1993. It includes major initiatives to preserve America’s lands legacy, combat global warming, protect tropical forests, end childhood lead poisoning, and build more livable communities
Saving Natural and Historic Treasures. $450 million, a 7 percent increase, for Federal acquisition and protection of critical lands, including: wildlife-rich bayous in the Lower Mississippi Delta, giant sequoias in California’s Sierra Nevada, Civil War battlefields, the historic Lewis and Clark trail, fragile Southern California desert, and the Florida Everglades.
Providing Special Assistance to Coastal Areas. $429 million, a 159 percent increase, to protect ocean and coastal resources, including $100 million for a new program to help coastal states address environmental impacts of existing offshore oil and gas development, and $100 million to help state, local and tribal efforts to restore coastal salmon in the Pacific Northwest.
Moving New Technology into the Marketplace. The budget proposes $9 billion in tax relief over 10 years to encourage the purchase of energy-efficient cars, homes, and appliances, and the production of wind, solar, and biomass power.
Advancing Clean Energy Research. $1.4 billion, a 30 percent increase, to develop and deploy renewable energy and energy efficiency technologies for the buildings, transportation, industry and utility sectors; and to research coal and natural gas efficiencies and carbon sequestration.
Helping Local Clean Air Efforts. $85 million for a new Clean Air
Partnership Fund for state and local projects that reduces both greenhouse gases and pollutants like soot and smog.
Building Livable Communities. The President is proposing $9.3 billion for the Administration’s Livable Communities initiative, which helps communities grow in ways that enhance their quality of life and ensure strong, sustainable economic growth. Priorities include:
Community Transportation Choices. $9.1 billion to help ease traffic congestion, including a record $6.3 billion for light rail and other transit systems; $1.6 billion for innovative local programs that ease congestion while reducing air pollution; and $468 million for an expanded passenger rail fund.
Better America Bonds. The President is proposing Federal tax credits to pay the interest on $10.75 billion in bonds over 5 years for investments by State, local, and tribal governments. The bonds can be used to preserve green space, create or restore urban parks, protect water quality and clean up brownfields (abandoned industrial sites). The President also proposes “Smart Growth” Partnerships, which call for $25 million to promote strategic regional “smart growth” planning in urban and rural communities.
Restoring the Great Lakes. The President is proposing a new $50 million initiative to help state and local governments restore polluted areas of
concern in the Great Lakes. Matching grants could be used to clean up contaminated sediments, control stormwater, restore wetlands, acquire greenways and buffers, and control polluted runoff.
The FY2001 budget proposes an expanded New Markets initiative
and Empowerment Zone program, a new program known as First Accounts,
creation of the new Delta Regional Authority, new initiatives to close the
Digital Divide, efforts to expand opportunities to Native Americans as well as other programs that will provide distressed communities with additional opportunities to succeed.
The New Markets Initiative. The President’s budget provides tax credits
and loans guarantee incentives to stimulate $22 billion of new private capital investments in economically distressed communities around the country and build a network of private investment institutions to funnel credit, equity and technical assistance to businesses in America’s new markets. In addition, the budget proposes a new initiative—First Accounts—that will provide low-cost bank accounts for working families.
Doubling the New Markets Tax Credit. The President proposes to more than double the New Markets tax credit to spur $15 billion in new investment in community development in economically distressed areas. An entity making new equity investments in a selected community development project would be eligible for a tax credit worth 25 percent of the cost of the investment. A variety of vehicles providing equity and credit to businesses in underserved areas would be eligible. The total cost of the tax credits amounts to $5 billion over 10 years.
Expanded Empowerment Zones. The proposed expanded wage credits, tax incentives, and new round of urban and rural EZs will extend and improve
economic growth in the 31 existing urban and rural Empowerment Zones,
administered by the Department of Housing and Urban Development (HUD) and the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA). They also support the proposed third round of 10 new Empowerment Zones to be designated in 2001.
America’s Private Investment Companies (APICs). Modeled after the Overseas Private Investment Corporation’s (OPIC) successful investment fund program, the President’s budget proposes $37 million to allow APICs to provide guaranteed debt to private investment companies, licensed by HUD, to help leverage private equity capital and lower the cost of capital for investments in low- and moderate-income communities. APICs will make equity investments in larger businesses that are expanding or relocating in inner cities and rural areas.
Native American Initiative. In order to better serve Native American communities in this millennium and to honor the Federal government’s trust responsibility to tribes, the President’s budget includes $9.4 billion for key new and existing programs assisting Native Americans and Indian reservations. Some of the highlights include:
Bureau of Indian Affairs (BIA) School Construction and Repair. The President proposed $300 million, more than double the FY2000 enacted level of $133 million, to replace and repair BIA-funded schools on reservations. This is the largest investment ever in a single year for BIA school construction and repair.
Increased Funding for Tribal Colleges. The budget proposes increased funding of $25 million for the Nation’s tribal colleges, for a total of
Building Roads and Bridges in Indian Country. The Transportation
Department (DOT) will expand its program to improve roads and bridges on
Indian reservations. The budget proposes to give the Indian Reservations Roads Program the full authorization amount of $275 million with an additional $74 million from a highway receipts account for a total of $349 million, which will allow tribes to address the estimated backlog of $4 billion in needs on these roads and bridges.
Tribal Infrastructure Projects. The budget proposes $49 million, an increase of $46 million over FY2000, for the Department of Commerce’s Economic Development Administration to fund infrastructure, planning, and public works projects.
Creation of the Delta Regional Authority. In the Mississippi Delta,
poverty remains at 175 percent of the national average. The budget proposes $153 million for the creation of a new Delta Regional Authority, modeled after the successful Appalachian Regional Commission, to bring the resources of a Federal-State partnership to the fight for economic growth in the region. This partnership will help bring the infrastructure and job training needed to make the Nation’s prosperity a reality in the Delta.
Closing the Digital Divide
The President proposes $100 million to create up to 1,000 Community Technology Centers in low-income urban and rural communities. The budget more than triples the Department of Education’s support for Community Technology Centers—from $32.5 million in FY2000 to $100 million in FY2001. This initiative aims to help close the “digital divide” by providing computers and Information Age tools to children and adults who can not afford them at home.
Research & Development
A nearly $3 billion increase in the “Twenty-First Century Research Fund” in the FY2001 budget includes a $1 billion increase in biomedical research at the National Institutes of Health (NIH). This increase will support research in areas such as diabetes, brain disorders, cancer, genetic medicine, disease prevention strategies, and development of an AIDS vaccine.
A New $495 Million National Nanotechnology Initiative. The budget proposes an 83 percent increase in nanotechnology research, from $270 million in FY2000 to $495 million in FY2001. Nanotechnology—the ability to manipulate individual atoms and molecules—could revolutionize the 21st century in the same way that the transistor and the Internet led to the Information Age.
Promoting Bioenergy and Bio-based Products. The President’s FY2001 budget proposal includes a new initiative in research and development in bio-based technologies, which convert crops, trees, and other “biomass” into a vast array of fuels and products. The initiative provides an increase of more than $93 million over the amounts available for FY2000—a 47 percent increase. The initiative supports the President’s goal of tripling U.S. use of biobased products and bioenergy by 2010. Reaching the President’s goal would generate billions of dollars of new income for farmers and diversify and strengthen the rural economy producing 50,000 new, high-technology jobs in small processing plants in rural America and up to 130,000 such jobs in biopower, bioproducts, and biofuels industries. It would also lower the emissions of greenhouse gases by 100 million tons, equal to the amount emitted by 70 million cars.
Integrated Science for Ecosystem Challenges. The budget proposes $747 million—a $90 million increase over FY2000—to support environmental research to improve our understanding of the factors that result in ecosystem decline and biodiversity loss, and to design more effective options to prevent future declines.