Statement on Proposed Enterprise Zone Employment and Development Legislation

March 7, 1983

I am sending to the Congress today legislation that will be of primary benefit to America's disadvantaged citizens in our most depressed areas. The Enterprise Zone Employment and Development Act is part of our comprehensive jobs approach, which will be forwarded later this week and which will include supplemental unemployment benefits, tax credits for hiring the long-term unemployed, additional funds for job training and relocation assistance, and other initiatives. Now that the economic recovery is bringing many laid-off workers back onto the job, it is time we concentrated on longer range problems of unemployment in disadvantaged areas.

The enterprise zone concept is a fresh approach for promoting economic growth not only in inner cities but in rural areas and on Indian reservations as well. It creates a productive free-market environment by reducing taxes, regulations, and other governmental burdens on economic activity. Our enterprise zone program includes four basic elements:

-- Tax reduction at the Federal, State, and local levels to lessen the economic impediments to business investment and employment.

-- Regulatory relief at the Federal, State, and local levels to reduce costly burdens which are unnecessary to legitimate health and safety concerns.

-- New efforts to improve local services, including experimentation with private alternatives to provide those services.

-- Neighborhood involvement so that local residents can participate in the economic success of their zones. For example, resident-owned enterprise zone businesses might provide local services which were previously monopolized by government.

The cost of the enterprise zone tax package should be minimal, given the small amount of tax revenue presently generated in enterprise zones. This program provides a great opportunity at a minor cost. The legislation is based on the work of many Members of Congress from both sides of the aisle, and I encourage these innovative individuals to work for early, bipartisan passage.

This legislation says that we as a nation are not stymied by our problems. It says we do have new ideas for the future. And it says to those who need our help the most that we have not forgotten them. We want all our citizens to share in America's recovery, and I believe this legislation will enable us to move closer to that goal.