Government Affairs Update
President George W. Bush presented his detailed budget proposal for FY2002 on April 9. The President is proposing to increase discretionary spending by $25.7 billion, or 4 percent, to $660.7 billion. Departments and agencies of importance to the University of Pennsylvania are slated to be funded at the following levels:
The President's budget proposal would also permanently extend the research and experimentation tax credit, allow tax-free distributions from state tuition plans, and allow private colleges to offer prepaid tuition plans.
Within the Department of Education, President Bush has proposed to spend $1.9 billion on programming for K-12 education, a 10% increase. He would spend $49.4 billion for federal student aid programs, a 4.6 percent increase over FY2001. The budget would provide level funding for the Graduate Assistance in Areas of National Need (GAANN) and Jacob K. Javits fellowship programs at $31 million and $10 million, respectively. President Bush proposes an increase of $1 billion for the Pell Grant program, with an increase of $100 in the maximum grant (to $3,850). President Bush would level fund all campus-based aid programs: Federal Work Study, $1.1 billion; Supplemental Educational Opportunities Grants (SEOG), $691 million; Perkins capital contributions, $100 million; Perkins loan cancellations, $60 million. He proposes an increase of $50 million, to $780 million, for TRIO and level funding for the Leveraging Education Assistance Partnership program at $55 million. President Bush would allocate $227 million for GEAR UP, a reduction of $68 million. The budget includes level funding at $67 million for Title VI Domestic International Programs.
For questions or further information about the President's budget request
or the Congressional budgeting process, contact the Office of Federal Relations
at (215) 898-1532.
City and Community Relations
On April 18, 2001, Mayor John F. Street launched a five year $1.6 billion plan to eliminate blight, preserve and restore neighborhoods, and reverse population declines. The Neighborhood Transformation Initiative (NTI) is designed to implement policies and programs that will preserve and restore all Philadelphia's neighborhoods by reducing the City's inventory of vacant, deteriorating buildings and trash-strewn lots. The initiative also includes a comprehensive, strategic redevelopment plan for Philadelphia, which, among other things, is expected to reverse a 50-year-long pattern of population decline the City has experienced.
The initial down payment for the program will be through the issuance of $250 million of government, private activity and taxable bonds, which will require City Council approval. The $250 million in bond financing will be allocated as follows: Residential Demolition ($140 million); Land Assembly & Relocation ($35 million); Encapsulation ($30 million); Neighborhood Investment Programs ($20 million); Commercial & Industrial Sites ($20 million); Management Information System ($5 million). The remainder of the funding calls for blight elimination funding ($492.5 million) and housing resources ($887.4 million) from public sources, over its initial five years of operation.
The Initiative is expected to produce nine specific outcomes:
First-year activities will not only include clearing the City's vacant lots, but will also focus on: the recruitment of 500 new block captains in neighborhoods across the City; the removal of 4,300 dangerous street trees; the hiring of six community planners; the launch of a short dumping initiative; the launch of a citywide anti-litter campaign; and the launch of a new tree planting campaign.
Additional information regarding the Mayor's NTI program can be found on the City's website at www.phila.gov.
--Carol R. Scheman, Vice President for Government, Community
and Public Affairs
Almanac, Vol. 47, No. 31, April 24, 2001