Message to the Congress Transmitting a Report on the Community Impact of New Military Facilities

March 23, 1981

To the Congress of the United States:

Section 803(b) of the Military Construction Authorization Act of 1980 (PL 96 - 418) called for ``a thorough study of the adverse impact on communities in areas in which major, new military facilities are constructed with a view to determining the most effective and practicable means of promptly mitigating such impact.''

I am submitting herewith a preliminary report of this study which is being conducted by an interagency task force of the President's Economic Adjustment Committee. Additional portions of the study are underway, and will be reflected in a final report which I will forward to the Congress as early as practicable. I will defer offering any recommendations on organizational and budgeting approaches to community and impact assistance until that time.

The study's initial findings suggest that the near-term local economic benefits of a major new military base may not be sufficient to offset the cost of required additional community facilities and services, and that special Federal assistance to affected States and localities may sometimes be justified. At the same time, States and localities should be expected to meet their share of community facility and service costs in defense growth areas.

As a general proposition, therefore, any special Federal community assistance should be limited to the minimum level required to mitigate the adverse effects of extraordinary growth directly resulting from major new bases. In addition, I would oppose any such assistance taking the form of Federal guarantees of State or municipal indebtedness where the interest is not subject to Federal income tax.

With specific reference to the MX weapon system and the East Coast Trident base, Section 802 of the Military Construction Authorization Act contains a wide range of authorities to provide impact assistance for affected areas. If additional legislation is required, I will request it at a later date.

I am pleased to note that representatives of the States and affected communities of Nevada, Utah, Georgia, and Florida have participated fully in preparation of this report. I am confident that, working together, we can meet legitimate State and local concerns about defense growth impacts, while at the same time satisfying national security requirements.

Ronald Reagan

The White House,

March 23, 1981.