Enterprise zones

The purpose of this letter is to applaud you for your editorial of Oct. 31, ''New priority for old cities,'' which so aptly acknowledged that the enterprise zone concept warrants consideration. Indeed it does and your recent series, ''Saving Our Cities,'' also cited the idea of enterprise zones as a means of revitalizing our nation's cities.

As the President's assistant for intergovernmental affairs, I have witnessed firsthand the successes being accomplished through enterprise zones. To date, I have visited 16 of the 24 states which currently have legislation establishing their own state enterprise zones. Presently, over 200 individual zones have either been designated or currently exist. By the end of this year, these zones are estimated to have retained or created some 60,000 jobs and will have generated over $1.5 billion of capital investment within the zones. Indiana and Connecticut are among the best models of state enterprise zones. Other states, including Illinois, Missouri, Ohio, Kentucky, Virginia, Maryland, Kansas, Mississippi, and Florida, have passed innovative incentives in enterprise zone legislation to attract business to targeted areas of high unemployment and neglect.

As many of us are aware, the Senate has passed federal enterprise zone legislation twice, but the House has failed to act on this exciting experiment to assist cities through a true public-private partnership, despite the fact that more than half of the members of Congress have co-sponsored this legislation.

Enterprise zones are no longer a lofty concept but a successful reality which can be seen in large and small urban areas as well as some rural areas - helping to invigorate those economies. Clearly, these zones are not designed to replace federal aid for local economic development. They are decentralizing the creation of dramatic new partnerships among public officials, the private businesses which they seek to encourage, as well as stimulating minority and ethnic neighborhoods revitalization, which will be the ultimate beneficiaries of the program. This administration will continue its commitment to make the program both a reality and a success.

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