A New Agenda for Metropolitan America – A Ten Point Plan

I. Make federal government more responsive to local priorities and metro economies.

    Establish within the White House a Domestic Policy Czar who has sweeping authority over the federal agencies to promote the economic well being of our metro areas and provide regulatory flexibility to local governments to meet critical local needs.

    Streamline existing federal funding to provide direct flexible resources to local governments with increased local accountability.

II. Help local leaders make America even safer.

    Help us to enforce existing laws so that those committing crimes with guns and those that are acting as straw purchasers for criminals and kids are held accountable and face the risk of serious punishment.

    Support comprehensive gun safety measures to help keep guns away from kids, the mentally ill and criminals.

    Increase flexible funding to support local police officers and law enforcement technology and equipment and provide incentives so local police agencies don’t feel compelled to sell used police weapons back to the public.

    Increase efforts to stop drugs from entering this nation and attack illegal drugs being produced within our borders – look to the mayors for assistance.

    Assure that every person has access to drug treatment on demand.

    Support drug free prisons and drug treatment for prisoners and require that every prisoner pass a drug test prior to release back onto our streets and in our neighborhoods.

III. Invest in Public Schools.

    Support world class teachers in world class public schools including physical infrastructure improvements, technology investments, class size reductions, increased school safety and a new focus on teacher training and recruitment.

IV. Confront America’s affordable housing crisis.

    Increase housing programs for the elderly to meet the needs of our aging population.

    Support safety and security improvements for all public housing residents and the upgrading of public housing to decent and safe standards.

    Support a partnership with the private sector to invest in technology and skills development to help public housing residents become self sufficient in the modern information-based economy.

    Increase flexible block-grant housing and community development investment targeted in blemished neighborhoods to take advantage of untapped domestic markets and leverage private investment.

    Support a comprehensive program to end hunger and homelessness over the next decade which attacks the problems of mental illness, drug addiction and housing shortages.

V. Promote Arts and Cultural and Sporting Amenities.

    Promote the arts as a national and international economic asset and increase support for national and local arts, culture, and humanities institutions.

VI. Direct Tax Cuts to Challenged Neighborhoods and Working Families.

    Support a package of tax incentives to assist first-time homebuyers and help leverage private investment in distressed and older areas to create jobs, preserve housing, and create neighborhood businesses.

VII. Help communities grow smarter by recycling America’s land and preserving open space and parks.

    Take actions to help eradicate the more than 600,000 brownfields sites throughout the nation and restore these properties to productive use and helping to preserve farmland and other open spaces.

    Support tax incentives and changes to federal inheritance laws to encourage the preservation of farm and forest land, and similar measures to encourage families to live in existing communities.

VIII. Build a Competitive Workforce for the Global Economy.

    Build a competitive workforce for the 21st Century economy by providing directly to local governments flexible block grant funding to be used in partnership wit the private sector to reduce the skills gap, link workers to regional jobs, address youth unemployment, tap into the central city labor force, and help move people from welfare to work.

    Continue the transition from welfare to work by investing in childcare, health care, food support, and transportation assistance and insist that states commit their existing federal resources to these priorities.

IX. Modernize our infrastructure while protecting our environment for future generations.

    Create a new 21st high-speed rail system for America.

    Ensure that taxpayers know how states are expending federal funds in the area of transportation.

    Increase investment in new rail projects to modernize and diversify our metropolitan transportation systems to reduce congestion and improve economic productivity.

    Expand and invest in the nation’s airports and ports, critical assets for our nation’s future productivity and growth.

    Invest in the nation’s water and wastewater infrastructure, including tax incentives and other measures to advance private/public partnerships in meeting these capital needs.

X. Increase access to affordable health care.

    Support a program to ensure that affordable health insurance is available for every child, backed by a stronger federal-local partnership to make families aware that such benefits are available.

    Increase prescription drug coverage for senior and low-income citizens through Medicare and Medicaid payment systems.

    Assess the adequacy of mental health care currently available from the public sector and private insurance system and work with public and private sector partners to increase the availability of quality, affordable mental health care.

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