Washington, DC - Leaders of the National League of Cities (NLC) went to the White House today to hear from President Obama on the local implications of the "fiscal cliff" and the need for swift action.
"We appreciate the President's attention to the local impacts of the fiscal cliff," said NLC President Marie Lopez Rogers, mayor of Avondale, AZ. She continued, "We are pleased that he and Speaker Boehner agree with us in calling for a balanced approach to solve the impending fiscal cliff."
Slow growth and a wait-and-see approach best describe the current economic conditions in cities. It is imperative that a deal on the fiscal cliff happen quickly and does not thwart the economic recovery cities are only now beginning to see.
"The cliff is real and is already being felt in cities and towns all over this nation," said Rogers. She continued, "Our citizens want to buy holiday presents and our businesses want to invest and hire. We all need the certainty provided by a deal done this year."
The event was also attended by NLC First Vice President Chris Coleman, mayor of St. Paul, MN, and NLC Immediate Past President Ted Ellis, mayor of Bluffton, IN.
Since the beginning of the recession, city officials have cut services, programs and staff to balance their budgets in fiscal prudence, yet they have found ways to continue to make investments in their communities.
NLC continues to urge Washington to:
•Ensure a balanced approach to deficit reduction that includes targeted spending cuts and revenue enhancements;
•Continue investments towards local competitiveness through infrastructure improvements, education support and public safety programs;
•Support the continuation of key economic development tools like the Community Development Block Grant and workforce training programs which are paired with local resources to increase the impacts of federal investments;
•Safeguard the continuation of tax exempt municipal bonds which are the primary vehicle for local governments to raise money for capital investment projects. Included in this discussion was a request for the President to not enact a cap on the amount of deductions that could be taken by municipal bond purchasers;
•Support the bipartisan Marketplace Fairness Act that allows cities to raise revenue on internet commerce transactions.
These are the key tools used by cities. It is imperative that they be supported even in times of austerity to increase the global competitiveness of cities and drive economic growth.
The National League of Cities is dedicated to helping city leaders build better communities. NLC is a resource and advocate for 19,000 cities, towns and villages, representing more than 218 million Americans.