YOU ARE HERE: LAT HomeCollections

Clinton Visits Suburb in Move to Center : Economy: He uses a Maryland construction site as backdrop to plug his budget plan. The county had not been politically friendly.


FREDERICK, Md. — President Clinton, venturing into politically alien Frederick County, Md., in his quest for support, declared Thursday during a visit to a half-built housing tract that his budget plan "has no party label" but only "jobs and incomes" behind it.

Clinton toured the county's upscale River Walk housing development, greeted a succession of young homeowners, then told the crowd how his plan would, by cutting the deficit, keep mortgage rates low and create jobs in the home construction industry.

"I wanted to illustrate that this is not a partisan issue; it's a bipartisan effort to move the economy forward," he said after touring a succession of two-story homes in a cul de sac.

Most home builders and realtors "are probably Republicans," Clinton said. But home builders and realtors nationally "are supporting this program because it's good for the economy," he contended.

The visit to Frederick County, which gave Clinton only about one vote for every three it cast in the November election, extended a string of appearances designed to strengthen his appeal to the political center. Taking the stage with officials of the National Assn. of Homebuilders, Clinton appealed to the self interest of business people and home buyers.

"Why would the home builders be supporting it if it were bad for business and bad for America?" he asked. "They wouldn't be."

The President unsheathed charts showing that mortgage rates have declined to their lowest level in 20 years and that new home sales have risen to their highest level since 1986.

He asserted that refinancing a 10.5% mortgage to 7.5% would save $2,100 in the first year-- about twice what a family earning $40,000 to $60,000 would pay under his proposed energy tax in four years.

He also cited the plan's advantages for business, pointing out that the bill allows small business to write off more expenses. He even praised the way the bill expands the real estate industry's passive loss provisions.

"People in the real estate industry have been asking for years that they simply be treated on what are called passive losses like every other business," Clinton said.

But he drew his biggest applause when he talked about the plan's provisions for an "earned income tax credit," which is intended to increase the net income of the working poor on the theory that doing so will discourage reliance on welfare.

He pledged again to look for more spending cuts as his economic plan moves next week to the Senate.

"Many senators and many House members--and the President--would like to pass the budget plan with even fewer taxes and more spending cuts, and we're going to look for that," Clinton said.

But referring to a possible compromise in the Senate, he added: "I think it's important to say, yeah, let's shoot for more spending cuts and less taxes. But let's pass the bill and get the deficit down."

Los Angeles Times Articles