Google Ads help pay the expense of maintaining this site
Click Here for the Neighborhood Transformation Website
Fair Use Disclaimer
Neighborhood Transformation is a nonprofit,
noncommercial website that, at times, may contain copyrighted material
that have not always been specifically authorized by the copyright
owner. It makes such material available in its efforts to advance the
understanding of poverty and low income distressed neighborhoods in
hopes of helping to find solutions for those problems. It believes that
this constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted material as
provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. Persons wishing to
use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of their own that
go beyond 'fair use' must first obtain permission from the copyright
Miami Herald - Feb. 08, 2002
MIAMI DADE VOWS TO OPPOSE CUTS TO EMPOWERMENT ZONE BY U.S
By Andrea Robinson
Miami-Dade officials said Thursday they'll fight to preserve the local empowerment
zone, after learning the Bush administration is proposing to cut a key component
in the economic revitalization program.
President Bush wants to eliminate grants for empowerment zones in 15 urban areas
-- including Miami-Dade County. The administration argues that tax breaks and other
incentives are a more effective way to promote economic revival.
The cut, included in Bush's budget proposal this week, is an about-face for the
administration, which a year ago requested $150 million in grants for 15 empowerment
zones. Congress provided $45 million.
Miami-Dade County Manager Steve Shiver said county analysts are reviewing the budget
numbers and examining how they could affect the local economy.
''We're trying to make sure those dollars aren't taken out. We want to reap the
full benefits of the empowerment zone,'' Shiver said.
Miami-Dade was awarded an empowerment zone designation in 1998. The program seeks
to revitalize impoverished areas through grants as well as tax breaks and credits
Dade's zone is a 13-square-mile area that takes in eight of the county's poorest
neighborhoods -- Overtown, Liberty City, Allapattah, East Little Havana, Wynwood,
Melrose, Florida City and Homestead.
The county has received $19 million in federal grants over the last three years.
Bryan K. Finnie, director of the county's Empowerment Trust, said the bulk of that
money didn't come until 2001. Another $3 million is scheduled to arrive this year.
Of the monies we've received, the empowerment zone has allocated in excess of $20
million for projects,'' Finnie said.
He added that federal monies went toward strategic planning costs, microloan programs,
public service initiatives in zone neighborhoods, equity investments and facade
and street improvements. Just recently, $4.6 million was loaned to Leasa Industries
in Liberty City for plant expansion.
Finnie said some grant funds were used as leverage to attract state, local and private
funding. Projects on the table include a mixed-income, semi-gated community in Overtown
and a revolving loan fund for small businesses.
But the Bush administration has questioned whether cities are fully using the grants.
''The president's budget request places a premium on programs that demonstrate results,''
said HUD spokeswoman Nancy Segerdahl.
``It's clear that many of these empowerment zones are not spending their existing
grant funds, so this budget request will shift the focus toward providing tax incentives
as a more effective vehicle to promote economic development and job growth in these
U.S. Rep. Carrie Meek, a Miami Democrat, said that many government-funded programs
maintain unspent balances, including education and the military. She vowed to fight
for the funds.
''Last year the president recommended the Congress fund urban empowerment zones
at $150 million. This year he's recommending we completely zero out the program,''
Meek said. ``There has been no change in the other tax laws and supports in the
empowerment zones. Yet this year, in the midst of a recession, the president recommends
zeroing out this program, which is designed to help the poorest neighborhoods in
one of the nation's poorest cities.''
Meek said a cut would cause a delay -- or termination -- of some economic development
plans in the empowerment zones.
There will be at least six weeks of hearings on the budget, starting with the House
Appropriations Committee, on which Meek serves. Those hearings are scheduled to
begin the first week in March. -